Happy Father’s Day! My Grandpa passed away recently and my brother edited some videos of him so we could watch and remember. This is the second half.
I loved my Grandpa so much and I really hope he knew how much I loved him. I remember when I decided to move to California, I flew across the country, rented a car and drove to his house. My grandpa had ‘vitamin o’ (donuts) and a jolly smile waiting for me. He was actually giddy to see me! Like a little kid. My grandpa always had faith in me. He never hesitated to tell me how much he loved me or how proud he was of me. We spent summer of 2013 together and boy did we ever have fun! I was running around like crazy, applying for jobs, and he was busy reading and watching golf and even going to the gym. We talked about life, about work, about food, about his experiences. He took me to restaurants and on the scenic backroads to Oakland. And of course, we went to the gym together! I was so, so proud to go to the gym with my 89 year old grandpa. He has never been ashamed of his love of work. He was very in love with life in general.
My grandpa grew up during the Great Depression and always knew he’d never go to college because there was no way his family could afford it. So when it was time for him to graduate, he went and asked the principal if he could stay for a fifth year and take more classes. They said yes and he stayed and studied a fifth year. Knowing how much my grandpa hated high school, I always thought that was a bold move.
Later he was drafted to fight in World War II. He passed an aptitude test so he could be a war engineer, although towards the end of the war he was put in infantry with everyone else. My grandpa wrote about his experiences in the war in his life story, but he refused to talk about it otherwise (unless a sweet second grader needed to do a report on a veteran). I know the war took a toll on him and I don’t think it is a coincidence that he died on Victory in Europe day. I am very proud of his service to the United States.
After World War II, my grandpa was able to attend college through the GI bill. My grandpa worked forty hours a week while attending college, graduated with an accounting degree in three years, and never got less than an A. If you knew my grandpa, this would not surprise you at all. As long as I knew him, my grandpa was completely, hopelessly addicted to work.
My grandpa always talked about how grateful he was for his education, how lucky he felt to have the chance to study and learn in college from good teachers. Whenever I was feeling down about my job, he would remind me of the power and importance of education. My grandpa was an inspirer and he was passionate about education.
My grandpa was a Catholic in Utah (a rare demographic), and he sort of tried to hide that from my grandma while they were dating, but she knew the whole time and it didn’t bother her. They got married and the missionaries started coming over. As I understand it, my grandpa gave them a fairly hard time for about six years and then he finally decided to get baptized. He was still very skeptical of many things, but he jumped right into Mormonism and when he died he was certainly without any shame or doubt in his faith and the sacrifices he made for it. He was Bishop of the Laotian branch and he was a sealer in the temple for 23 years. He loved being able to give service.
My memories of my grandpa are mostly of his sense of humor, generosity, and his obsession with work. I remember when he and Grandma would come visit he would wake up early and make everyone breakfast (turtle pancakes) and then clean the kitchen and weed the backyard empty and then mow the entire lawn. And my mom and dad would beg him to just sit and relax, but he was incapable of relaxing. The only thing that was relaxing for him was work. At my grandpa’s funeral we found out that he had turned in his home teaching report (checking in on about 20 – 30 home teachers to make sure they had visited each of their assigned families) on the Tuesday before he died. He had 100% completion. He was incapable of eating or getting up off of his lazy boy, but gosh damnit he was going to call people and harass them about their service and home teaching for the month! My grandpa loved work.
My Grandpa loved delicious food and I think it was partly because he had gone a good deal of his early life without being able to have much food at all. After my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary we started having family reunions in Carpinteria, California and I sincerely think Grandpa’s entire reasoning for this week of the year was to get everyone as fat as possible. The whole trip was always on his dollar and he would always shoo us off to Robataille’s to get more candy and then after he’d force-feed us cookies and donuts and ice cream. Etched on his gravestone are the words: “Are you hungry? Can I get you anything to eat?” because you couldn’t go ten minutes without him asking you that. OK so they’re not really etched on his gravestone, but we should at least check to see if there’s any space left for that. My grandpa loved food and he loved talking about food. And as a survivor of the Depression and World War II, he shamelessly saved food, for years. Oh how I love my grandpa.
My grandpa loved laughing. He had some famous jokes and he loved messing with little kids. When they were little he tried to convince my twin brothers that the reason their hair was curly was because they had eaten too much soy sauce and they needed to cut back. Hahaha. There’s a clip in the video where he’s trying to convince me that he’s holding up the cannon. He had a pretty big inventory of jokes and he loved being a wisecrack.
My grandpa never, ever complained. I honestly don’t think I have ever heard my grandpa voice a complaint in my life. When my grandma died, he pulled out pictures of her all over the house, but he never complained about missing her. If I understand correctly, my grandpa died because his kidneys quit working and his body filled with toxins. So it was a slow and miserable process. This last year was really brutal to watch, but he was such a champion about it. When someone would ask, “How are you today Grandpa?” he would always say he was doing well, even though it was fairly obvious that he wanted to pass on.
Thank you for loving me and for being so great Grandpa! I love and admire you deeply and I am so grateful to have you for a grandpa.
Happy Father’s Day and thank you to both of my grandpas (I’m spoiled; my dad’s dad is actually equally wonderful and hilarious), to my dad, to my brothers and cousins, and to all the honest men making their contributions to our human family. Your goodness makes a difference.
And a heartfelt thank you for reading.