Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Gramps

January 19, 1886 - December 31, 1987

When I was a kid I was always amazed that my grandfather had been born in 1886. My god I thought, that was in a whole different century than we were living in. I did love listening to his stories of the distant past. He spent his youth in the city of Philadelphia, and one of the stories he liked to tell us kids was how he had played on the feet of the William Penn Statue. Well that statue was on top of city hall and I kind of scoffed at that story until I looked it up. Sure enough, he easily could have done that. The William Penn statue wasn't lifted to the top of city hall until 1901. It sat on the ground in front of the building for a while.

My gramps did and said a lot of things that were strange to a kid living in the modern era of the 1950's. He chewed Plow Boy brand tobacco. He called his rain boots 'rubbers', which amused me and my little friends who thought only condoms were called that. Until the day he died, he called the automobile a machine. Not car, not auto, but machine, as in "Take me up to the store in the machine so I can get some Plow Boy, White Owls, and Meister Brau."

For some reason when my grandfather was in his eighties, he decided to get a dog. Not a nice little dog, but a cute Irish Setter puppy named Kelly that quickly grew to outweigh him. Gramps was short, about five feet, four inches, and thin. Every day you could see him being dragged out the front door, and across the street by that dog. Kelly determined where they were going, and that meant straight for the grass next to the Catholic grade school. Now the way this school was constructed, was with lower level classrooms that had windows right at grass level. This is where Kelly would squat and poop. To this day we run into people who were in those classrooms back then. It seems they were all entertained by Kelly pooping right outside the window. They say the nuns were not so amused.


  1. He only went to the doctor twicee, I believe.Once in his 70's or 80's when he ran over his toe with a lawnmower and once when he had a skin cancer taken off his nose. And he pulled all his own teeth!!!

  2. Strong as an ox too.