Grandfather Phil reading.
I just read Henry Louis Gates' remembrance of his grandfather in the New Yorker and it got me thinking about mine. My paternal grandparents were both dead when I came on the scene since my father was the third youngest in a family with nineteen kids.
But my maternal grandfather was around for my first 12 years, dying of a massive heart attack on the way home from seeing Please Don't Eat the Daisies at the Keswick movie theater in Glenside, PA. He crashed his car into their apartment building. I was watching a rerun of Twilight Zone when we got the news on a hot July night-- the episode where Burgess Meredith loses his glasses. When the phone rang, I knew it was bad news.
I adored my grandfather. He listened to me when no one else did. We had long talks every Saturday while my brother was in the doctor's office getting allergy shots. He gave me my first record player along with my first album, Gigi. He and my grandmother took me to my first movie, Daddy Longlegs. He taught me how to pump a swing.
My grandfather ate a small dish of canned petite soeur peas every night with his dinner. He always sat on the floor if he had a choice. He was an architect, but I dreamily convinced myself that he would have preferred to be a drummer, which he was until he married my grandmother. He collected four-leaf clover and stamps. He was an architect on the Cathedral of Learning building in Pittsburgh. He wore Bermuda shorts and sandals whenever he could.
What do you remember about your grandfather(s)? And if they're still alive, what will you remember?