Happy Birthday, Granddaddy Pete!

As I’ve shared before, my grandparents raised me, so as far as I’m concerned, they were my real parents. Today my Granddaddy would’ve been ninety-five years old!  He passed away when he was sixty-seven and I was seventeen.  At the time, I thought he was old!  Of course, now that I’m in between seventeen and sixty-seven myself, I don’t think that’s so old at all anymore!  LOL!

My favorite photo of Grandma and Granddaddy sometime around the late 1940s I guess.

My grandfather was a strict man whose only interest was in school and my education.  By the time I left the second grade and transferred to a different private school, he started getting the following year’s books from the school and every night, weekends and holidays included, he’d make me sit with him for two to three hours to study and do the work for the grade ahead of mine.  I also had to bring home every single book every day and do my homework in front of him, even if I’d already done it in school.  As you might imagine, this caused a great deal of resentment in me toward school and toward him.  By the time I was in high school, I started accidentally (on purpose!) forgetting my books at school.  I got away with that excuse for about a week before he decided to visit the school and then forced me to stay after school under a teacher’s supervision for two hours each day so that teacher could see to it that I got my homework done.  (Poor Mrs. St. Clair didn’t understand why Granddaddy was so obsessed with my schooling, either!)

Before spending every evening in Granddaddy’s home school after spending the entire day in real school, I could go outside after school until whatever time the newspaper said sunset was.  That meant I was inside the front door by that time, not in the yard and not on the porch.  But it was my responsibility to check the paper daily.  And if I was even one minute late, I was grounded for the rest of the week.

Because all that education was shoved down my throat, I hated school with a vengeance.  I didn’t like it anyway because my Asperger’s Syndrome made me anxious when I was around a lot of people, but knowing I’d have to go home and take all the chapter tests in every book just for Granddaddy even though the teachers never assigned them, and spending hours reading aloud instead of getting any downtime, made me resent every moment I was at school.  As such, I did all I could to get out early.  I took eleventh grade English in summer school and was therefore able to skip my junior year and graduate at sixteen years old.

My other favorite photo of Grandma and Granddaddy on Guam in the 1950s.

However, because of my disdain for school, I didn’t want to go to college after graduation.  It was another five years before I realized how foolish that was and went.  (And of course, it turned out that I loved it!)  Furthermore, because of how strict my lifestyle was, I just wanted to feel loved, so I did what too many young girls do, and I fell for the first boy who came along and paid any attention to me.  At only thirteen years old, I already decided I would marry that boy someday, a fact which Granddaddy absolutely hated.

Granddaddy and me on his last birthday on earth.

So Granddaddy and I argued over that boy, and we argued over school.  All the time.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that he only wanted me to have the advantages in life that his other children didn’t have because they dropped out of school.  And while I still think he was excessively overzealous in his attempts to educate me, I do now fully appreciate his reasons for doing so.

Happy Birthday, Granddaddy Pete!  I love and miss you so much!

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22 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Granddaddy Pete!

      • France – apart from the rain was, as ever, splendid. Only bit that had me worried was coming back. Someone in the carriage of the Eurotunnel train we were parked up in played (from his/her own car sound system) at high volume what sounded not unlike the call to prayer! Must confess that in this day and age what with all the terrorist threats that didn’t go down too well! Still quite funny now thinking about it.

      • I must admit we were a little troubled! However, if the bloke thought it a ‘good wheeze’ to scare everyone shitless then I guess it worked! Suppose, looking back it was quite funny! Then again as we were going through British Border control on the French side we were in a short queue yet the only car the agency decided to take an in-depth look at was poor young North African looking bloke who was plainly picked out simply because he was a North African looking bloke! Strange world we live in these days.

      • Maybe he looked West African and they stopped him for Ebola screening? (Have you had that scare over there?) I think here, everyone would have been stopped after the car radio incident!

  1. When parents say, “Someday you’ll thank me for this,” kids hate it, and they silently vow that it will never happen. But most of the time, the kids are wrong about that, too. I’m one of those parents whose kids came back to render thanks while in this life, but Granddaddy Pete surely feels your understanding and gratitude, even though he’s gone.

  2. He was trying to do what he thought was right – and I like that you see that now. It is hard to see it when you’re young and there is a difference of so many years between you. I love the picture of the two of you.

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