Monday, November 05, 2007
On the Estate with Grampa
A blog that I read a while ago caused me to ponder that the closest we ever came to rubbing shoulders with the well-heeled was through my paternal grandfather. That's him above with me and my Dad. I am guessing that I was three or four and that it was 1950 or 1951. I scanned it because I had thought that it was taken on the estate on which my grandfather worked, but the buildings in the background tend to indicate that it was taken elsewhere, quite possibly at his house, for I do recall that he had quite a garden in the side yard. Nevertheless, I am touched by the way that he has his arm on my shoulder. I don't recall any physical affection from any of my grandparents, but now having a grand of my own, I figure that their own British ways they probably quite taken with their grandson.
I am surprised that Gramps is shorter than his son, my dad, who was not very tall at all. I have never fully realized his diminutive stature until now when scanning the photos has caused me to look at them more closely. He passed away when I was ten (I think), so all adults were still probably large to me. As you can probably tell, he wore a bad hairpiece, but I never knew that until later although I remember thinking that his hair was a might odd. The men of this family don't keep their hair very well.
The photos above and below are really what prompted this post, for I remember that, in the summer, we would visit him on the estate on which we worked. Well, we did it at least twice as the two pictures indicate. (He reminds me of Marlon Brando as The Godfather in the photo below.)
It was an estate in Montreal. My grampa was in his seventies but still worked for The Lady Gordon. He was the gardener or groundskeeper for the well-to-do widow on a pretty large piece of property with extensive lawns and gardens. We never got to meet the lady or get into the house, but we'd visit in the shed and stroll the grounds and pet the dog, Sally.
I have several recollections of these visits. I remember once being thirsty and being offered water. "Would you like it in a glass or a mug?" I chose a glass because I didn't know what the heck a mug was. Rather than ask, I went with the glass. I wonder why I wouldn't ask.
Perhaps it was on the same visit, but I remember sitting on a red tractor in the shed and grampa telling my dad that he was going to use it on the next working day. I know that I said something such as "You're going to drive it?" and my eye's must have lit up because the grownups all recognized my excitement and chuckled at me. I think I wanted him to invite me back for a ride the next day, but, of course, he didn't. I wonder why he wouldn't have taken me out that day?
There was a time (I think this was a year or two later than the photos) when I wanted to grow a pumpkin from seed. My mother suggested that I have grampa plant it for me. I guess I thought that was a good idea, but, somehow, when the time came to collect the pumpkin, I knew that it was not from my seed. There was something about the way it was recalled when either I or my parents reminded him. Kids are smart enough, and I just knew. I didn't feel particularly bad about it, but I guess I didn't feel all that good about it either because I do remember.
I wonder what else I will remember? I'm pretty sure that I will have to write more now that I've started.