My Grandpa Sol died when I was very young, but I do remember that he was small, wiry, and always on the go. My Grandpa Ben was 92 when he died but he lived in Newark, New Jersey and we were in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Whenever we visited him he prepared a glass of fresh orange juice just for me. It was a lovely tradition I appreciated very much.
Since we lived so far away from the rest of my parents’ families, I adopted two Grandpas of my own. “Uncle” Smitty was not my uncle and he and his wife never had any children. I thought of him as my Grampa Smits. His brother-in-law owned Washington Woolen Mills, the men’s clothing shop next door to my father’s jewelry store in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Grampa Smits and I hung out together under the awning between the two buildings. He told me stories, laughed at my jokes, and always had a supply of butterscotch candy in his pocket.
My Uncle Milty was also not my uncle but he knew me from the moment I was born and made sure that I was fully aware of how much I was loved and appreciated. He used to tell me stories where I was the heroine. I’m pretty sure that’s where my love of writing and storytelling began.
Grandpas are a special breed. One of the greatest thrills of my life was when I saw what a wonderful grandfather my dad, Grandpa Nat, was to my kids. He had a personalized and unique relationship with each and every grandchild. I knew he drew beautifully but that wasn’t something he did with me. When the grandchildren arrived, he drew interesting creatures with them from his imagination. He was a real homebody, and not into exercise at all, but with the grandchildren, he played a mean Frisbee and went for long walks.
Grandpas bring a new dimension to their grandchildren’s lives. What Do You Call Your Grandpa? is a project of love, celebrating the special bonds between Grandpas and Grandchildren everywhere. This project could not have happened without your support. Thank you for sharing your Grandpa images, names, and love with all of us.