Today would have been my grandfather’s 95th birthday. It’s been almost 17 years since Granddaddy passed away and I hadn’t realized how much I missed him. I had the chance to bond with him when my mom had him come live with us due to his age 20 years ago. This was definitely an adjustment period for all of us, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him. I really enjoyed the time I spent getting to know my grandfather in his later years. I interviewed him for one of my final papers I had to write for a sociology elective about my
family when I was an undergrad at Drexel University. It was interesting to spend some time with him about my family’s history and migration from North Carolina to Pennsylvania for a better life.
Granddaddy loved baseball and would watch the Phillies faithfully, especially during their 1993 season. Sometimes the games would run too late for him to stay awake and I would leave a note for him with the results when he woke up the next day before my mom took him to the senior center where he spent his mornings. I became a Phillies fan from the time we spent together watching baseball. He was knowledgeable about the game and answered any questions I had to the best of his abilities. There’s a part of me that finds it difficult watching a Phillies game and not think about him. Sometimes I’d like to watch one more Phillies game with Granddaddy now that they’re currently in first place in the NL East.
Whenever I come to Pennsylvania and visit my relatives, I’ll stop by my grandparents’ grave and spent some time there out of respect. I planned to do so today to wish Granddaddy a happy birthday, but today’s weather was not very cooperative and downright nasty. Outside of my immediate family and close friends, I never shared that information with the general public. Some people may think it’s weird for a person to visit their grandparents’ grave as often as I do, but I don’t. It’s something I saw in the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s play I Ought to Be in Pictures where Dinah Manoff’s character visited her grandmother’s grave before she made her trek to Hollywood in pursuit of her dreams of being an actress. Also, I feel I was robbed of the time I spent with my grandmother since she passed away when I was 10.
I spent some time this summer visiting my cousin Gerri in Raleigh, NC. She gave me a DVD containing some home movies that her father, my great Uncle Lucious, recorded before my birth in 1970. I was in total awe watching footage about my family, including my parents’ wedding in 1969. There was one clip from my one of my uncle’s first wedding, which included Granddaddy dancing with my Aunt Peach. I watched my grandfather and favorite aunt moving with grace and precision on the dance floor, looking so happy. I couldn’t thank my cousin enough for sharing her dad’s films with me. She let me borrow the DVD to show and make copies for my mom and Aunt Peach. Mom got a kick out of reliving some of those memories when we watched the footage last month. I haven’t gotten
around to sharing it yet with Aunt Peach, and I would have let her Peach borrow the DVD tonight if it wasn’t raining heavily. I have to make it over to visit her soon so she can watch Gerri’s DVD, but I may pull it out tonight to watch again. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, especially to see Granddaddy again on his special day.
Happy Birthday, Granddaddy!