I don’t usually drink, but I’m on my second glass of bourbon. My hands aren’t shaking so bad now, so let’s see how this goes.
I was never super close to my grandfather, to be honest – we were from very different worlds, different generations, of course. I respected him, though. He was truly a ‘man’s man’ – rugged, self-made, a dedicated family man. He and my grandmother had five kids, sixteen grandkids… they had a good life, a life anyone would be proud of. They were never rich monetarily, but they always had family, and to my grandfather, that’s what was important.
I found these pictures, going through the steam trunk drawers. My grandfather, like many men of his generation, served in Europe in World War II. I have no idea what he experienced there during the war – he used to tell us kids stories about building bridges and his time in England, and time aboard a ship, but all very simple, friendly stories – nothing about combat or the terrible things he must have seen. I know that while he was in Europe his father, my great-grandfather, died suddenly, before age 50, and that was a terrible tragedy that must have affected him deeply. I don’t think I was aware how deeply it affected him. I doubt anyone in the family did.
My hands are still shaking. I found something else, with the pictures, but I’m not ready… I’m not ready to talk about it yet. Maybe tomorrow, I don’t know.
I miss you Grandpa Joe. I wish I had known you better. I wish I had known you at all.