This has been a day, a day I tell you. The night is here and I'm ready for it. Sleep you are my muse, from you springs all of my creativity, when you don't visit the world is flat, the colors dim. Sleep well world I hope to see you in my dreams tonight
Is it Sid, George or Harry?
Although I spent little time with my grandfather, he left a big impression on me. He didn’t talk a lot, but what he said was very distinctive. Growing up in New Hampshire left him with a heavy accent. He didn’t park the car, he would “pak da caa”, and it wouldn’t be parked on the corner of Thirty Third and Third street, It would be on the “coina of Toity Toid an Toid stweet”. Grandpa was a large man, not large as in fat just large. At six foot four, and about two hundred and ten pounds he was a very imposing figure. Although he had big ears, and a large red nose, his appearance wasn’t comical, several women that I have spoken to, that knew him, said he was a very attractive man.
Walking through the front door of my grandfather’s home, the first thing that would register would be the smell of Old Spice, and stale booze, which may set off disgust for some, for me it was comforting. The next would be the dim lighting, even with the lamps on it was never very bright, grandpa kept the shades drawn. Grandpa sat in his easy chair about ten feet in from the front door, next to the entry way to the dining room. On the little table to his right his beer (Hams), and a glass of 7UP (with Seagram’s) sat within easy reach. In front of him and to his left was the Zenith console style TV, which he was very proud of, according to him it was the very first TV with a remote control.
Grandpa was a kind of sadist. At random times as you walked past him, he liked to pinch, not soft but not hard enough to damage, if he got a reaction he would chuckle. He also liked to call me Christ-tapha, because he knew it would piss me off. One day two of my cousins and I got into a fight, knock down drag out, I don’t remember what started it, probably my smart ass mouth, they were intent on kicking my ass. My aunts and uncles, mother, stepfather, and grandmother were yelling at me to stop. The whole time we were fighting, grandpa was laughing hysterically.
Mom didn’t talk often of grandpa, but over the years she would tell us stories about him during WW2. One day a news story came on the TV about Pearl Harbor. Mom looked at my sister and I and said, “your grandfather was in Pearl Harbor, during the attack”, as we got older it changed to “your grandfather went to Pearl Harbor, after the attack, on his way to the south pacific to fight. Another day the story on the TV was about JFK; again mom looked to my sister and I and said, “Your Grandfather was on the PT109” and that that was “Kennedy’s boat”. That story didn’t change much over the years.
I called him Grandpa Harry, my sister called him Grandpa George, his name was Sidney but you only called him that if he didn’t like you. After he died I went through his closet and found his Navel dress uniform, there were a lot of medals and ribbons attached to it. I don’t know if the stories my mother told us were true, it doesn’t matter. The truth is my grandfather was a decorated war hero, and his exploits were probably greater than the stories told about him.Chris McQueeney 02/23/11