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.


mreddie said...

I have noticed that when I write about the past it always keys other thoughts and such that I thought were long forgotten - good photos. ec

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

A nice recollection. You are lucky to have had grandpasrents. My maternal one died before I was born and my father's origins are a mystery the government doesn't want to let me in on. (Immaculate conception perhaps!)

I am glad you too think the English have a national characteristic of "reserve". I blame my mellow nature on my English reserve. Deliberately, I was much more "touchy feely" with my son, by design. You seem to wish your grandfasther was. You certainly are with the Smudge. Good for you!

Pam said...

I have noticed that the older I get the more the memories come back, some as clear as yesterday. Sometimes clearer, actually.

Good photos, but Sally seems a bit camera shy.

KGMom said...

Memory is a marvelous, mysterious thing. We recall bit and pieces, stitch it together into a semblance of the whole, all the while knowing we don't have everything there.
How wonderful that you reflect on your own grandfather in relation to your own experience now BEING a grandfather.

thailandchani said...

We always seem to be able to tell interesting things from pictures. It's amazing that you still have these around... and are able to post them. :)

ChrisB said...

I recall as a teenager my grandmother hated me to kiss and cuddle her in the street. I also never recall my parents being affectionate towards me. My mother tells me that's not the way things were done back then! ( i also grew up in the 50's) I cannot imagine not wanting to show affection to those I love. The problem I have now is my teenage grandson is not keen on being kissed, but he does indulge me sometimes I'm pleased to say.

Gina said...

What great pictures!

And dare I say there is more than a passing resemblance? Minus the hairpiece, of course.

Anonymous said...

Your recollections are interesting to read. I, for one, forget what wealth is like or was like. While we had a "lawn" at our house, and most things in it were loosely called grass, we had only a poor vegetable garden to tend and we did that with pride for it kept us alive during the war years.

Nice post. Great memories and photos.


Dale said...

Everyone has stories to tell.
Every one deserves to be heard.
Thanks for sharing your childhood with us, AC. I always enjoy your recollections.

Cathy said...

I love these posts, AC. Those old photos and the memories take me back. Grandparents are very precious. It must be so nice to know you're doing this for Smudge.

Pearl said...

Kids are smart like that pumpkin story.

Wonder if you'd like the Bodybuilder and I. It's NFB docu on dad and son trying to reach thru walls of years of not talking saying , who are you anyway?

Maya's Granny said...

It's the difference in nutrition that has made so many native born Canadians and Americans taller than their immigrant parents. It is less obvious with the English, who had pretty good nutrition all in all, much more so in groups like the Hmong. We lived next door to a Hmong family and by the time the kids were 12 they were taller than their fathers.

Simply Coll said...

Wonderful stories and memories and you have a captivating way of telling them. It makes me wish to remember some of my own.