Friday, December 9, 2011

Memories of My Old Pop

My grandfather on my father's side of the tree remains very strong in my memory. I wonder why it is, that I haven't thought about him for quite a long time. It seems that vivid memories come back to me now that I'm much older and want to leave some of them for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Perhaps this is why I'm now putting these recollections on paper. I have only one nephew at the end of my direct family line to carry on old pop's last name and he might be interested as well.

Pop & me 1939

The first memory that comes to mind is Pop's arrival at our home. We would go down the street to meet him as he exited the #72 bus carrying his valise.He always was dressed in his pin striped suit, with a vest, shirt and necktie. I'm not sure about the hat. He had beautiful white hair and maybe it was uncovered, but I don't really think it was. ~memory loss here~ And - of course - his pipe hung in his mouth, not even lit!

~Memory returned~ a Homburg type hat! Yes, that's it. It was probably given to him by a wealthy neighbor for whom he worked.

His pipe was his "trademark." He always smelled of tobacco, plus some other musty odor. His bottom lip would become chapped, forming a scab in the middle where the pipe stem would rest. Eventually a deep and permanent cleft developed and remained there. I found it interesting.I also remember long hairs protruding from his ears and nose!

Pop had been a farmer most of his life, and had an affinity for horses. When I was about 12 years old, I had an old horse that was kept in a nearby barn. When he would come to visit (via train and then bus) he had old clothes to wear and accompanied me on the mile trek to the barn. He taught me the "farmer's blow." During the winter our noses would dribble and he showed me how to hold one nostril shut and blowout the other, making sure the mucus would be spewed downwind. His skills, separating the manure from the straw, using only a three tine fork, was amazing to me. Apparently I was doing a poor job of stall cleaning because I wasted too much straw. I never was able to master his method.

When he visited, my dad would corner him and make him take a bath and after clean underwear, long john type, was on, sit on the edge of the bathtub with his feet, one at a time, over the toilet bowl. A toenail cutting was then done with cutting pliers by dad and he let me watch the procedure.

As he aged, my family, all six of us, would travel about 50 miles to the place where he stayed. His inclination was mostly hermit-like in those days and my dad visited while we remained on the lawn of the home during the visit. Eventually he was moved by my uncles to a care facility for his last days. He had not been eating properly and hoarded the tobacco, and saltine crackers that we always sent to him at Christmastime. I know no more about his hoarding and not taking care of himself, but believe he had dementia. He died at age 87. I had four children at the time and have no recollection of his funeral or burial.


  1. I have in my lifetime known some people who had that skill of blowing their nose into the wind. Thank goodness for Kleenex. lol

    Such a nice looking man. Like my grandfather, time takes away their memories. My grandfather had dementia, too, and was digging in trash dumpsters for discarded food for him and my grandmother to eat, even though they had plenty of money...he gave it all away trying to win my grandmother a trip. So sad to end a wonderful life that way. We had no idea at the time this was going on. Like your grandfather, when it was found out, they went to spend the end of their lives with an uncle of mine who supposedly took care of them, but I am afraid he was just taking care of their money.

  2. Oh, and you are just tooo adorable with that little pout!!!