Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Grandfather

Tonight my grandfather passed away. He was born in Providence, RI on 23 November 1921 to immigrants from Slonim, Russia (now Belarus). Grandpa was the middle child of five children and the last one to pass away. He was the only one to attend college - he studied electrical engineering at University of Rhode Island. After graduation, he served his time in the Army (was not sent overseas) and then took a job in Pittsburgh with Westinghouse where he worked on the first nuclear submarine. He also met my grandma in Pittsburgh and married her on Halloween Day 1945.

My grandpa loved photography and he took & developed many of the photos in his high school yearbook. I have photos he took & developed in his basement of me as a baby. He gave me my first camera when I was 9 or 10 years old - a Kodak 110 cartridge camera, I recall it looking something like this.

Things I will remember about grandpa:
  • Him making funny hats and mustaches with his napkin at the dinner table to amuse my brother & I when we were young children.

  • His Christmas socks: they are red, white, and blue - they look like July 4 socks - but he wore them every Christmas Eve. I like to think he did it specially for me as every year I checked his socks. I think the socks are 30 years old now and they were only worn at Christmas.

  • Agreeing to let me live with him and my grandma after I graduated with my Masters Degree and moved from the west coast back to Pittsburgh with no job & no money.

  • Him lobbing dinner rolls the length of the table at my dad at our 'formal' family dinners.

  • Playing pinochle with him and my dad.

  • The twinkle in his blue eyes - the rest of us have brown or hazel but g-pa's were a beautiful blue.

  • His ritual when he filled his pipe with tobacco and smoked (he quit smoking a pipe when he was about 65).

  • Him doing crossword puzzles. Every day. I am sure he did today's - and he always knew all the answers, even to the Saturday & Sunday NY Times crosswords, which are usually the most difficult.
He has at last joined my grandmother - he has missed her terribly for 5 and a half years - in what I hope is a peaceful and beautiful place. I miss him.


  1. What beautiful memories of your grandfather - sounds like he led a wonderful life!

  2. Sorry to hear about your grandfather. He sounds like a pretty cool guy (and I love the red, white & blue Christmas socks).