My grandpa's name is Cecil, and he is one of my favorite people in the world. He turned 83 this year.
He was born in a small town in Missouri (is there any other kind) in 1922. He had an older brother, by two years, named Roy and a younger sister, by four years, named Bessie Mae.
He only has one picture of Bessie Mae. She is sitting in a little toy car and looks to be about 4 years old. She had blonde curly hair and was wearing ruffled sundress. In the picture she is laughing at something and her face is partially turned away from the camera. Also in the picture is my grandfather's mother, my great grandmother. She is looking at Bessie Mae and smiling.
When my grandfather was 10 years old his mother died, heart failure. She was only 38. At that time my grandfather's father, my great grandfather, remarried. His new wife did not want children, so my grandfather and his brother and sister went to live with his grandfather (my great-great grandfather, got all that?? Talk about a loving stepmother.
When my grandfather was 12, his sister, Bessie Mae died. She had something he called "blue blood disease". I'm not sure that exists anymore, but he talked about how she would stop breathing sometimes and turn blue. She was 8 years old.
When my grandfather was 17, his grandfather died. He and his brother Roy had nowhere to go and so they decided to join the Air Force.
Roy was 21 when he married his high school sweetheart, Virginia. Two weeks later he was on a mission (he was a pilot) when his plane was shot down. My grandfather still has his wallet, burned around in the edges. Inside is one slightly singed picturer of Roy and Virginia, taken a couple of days after they were married. They are both laughing, like someone just told them a joke.
When I was 10 years old, my great grandfather was in the hospital dying of lung cancer. He hadn't spoken to my grandfather in over 40 years. My grandfather decided to go see him. Do you know what my great grandfather told him? That he had no regrets in life.
You know what though? In spite of all of this my grandfather is one of the most amazing and loving people I have ever known in my life. He makes the best pie crusts in the world and can make anything out of wood, chairs, dollhouses, whatever you want.
Last week he sent me a card and a check for $20 to help me out while I look for a job. I started crying at the mailbox and everyone probably thought I was insane, but whatever. $20 is a lot of money for him.
I worry that I don't tell him that I love him enough and that I don't call him enough and I don't know if he knows he is one of my favorite people. I am worried that I am not as good as I should be for him, that I'm not making him proud enough. I am worried that he's going to die before I see him again, or before I graduate, or before I do anything remarkable with my life. Or before I tell him any of this.
2005-11-03 at 1:30 p.m.