Four Things I Learned from Papa

July 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve learned a lot from my Papa (grandpa). I always listen to what he has to say. Throughout my life so far, I have learned four main tenets from my Papa.

1. Always be honest but never cruel.

2. Speak up and always say what you mean.

3. Live without regret (I’m still working on this one).

4. Never forget where you came from.

These are the things I have learned from my Papa and for which I am eternally grateful.

Papa, part 2

July 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

After Papa retired from the US Air Force in 1974, he immediately went to work for ITT-Federal Electric. He had many jobs throughout his career at ITT; however, perhaps his most important job was as a supervisor for a missile telemetry/tracking station outside Lompoc, CA. The station was associated with Vandenberg Air Force Base, a large missile and rocket launching station on the West Coast of the United States. He worked on the air force base his entire career with ITT.

When Papa retired from ITT in 2000, he spent some time messing around Lompoc, eating early breakfasts with old buddies, and reminiscing about the old days. Then, in 2001, he moved to Arkansas with my grandma to take care of my grandma’s mother–Oleta. He bought property, rentals, and various other things. He didn’t buy them because he needed the income. He bought them because he wanted something to do during the day. He wanted to keep busy.

Well, after my great-grandma died in early 2010, he sold all his rentals and many other properties. He decided that since I was going off to doctoral school in Minnesota and my sister was moving back to California, that he would just sell everything and move back to California as well. He doesn’t like being separated from his family.

So, Papa will probably move back to California. He probably will never come back to Arkansas again. He will fish in the oceanĀ  and tell stories to his old military buddies once more. He will be happy.

*That is a very slim-lined version of my Papa’s life. Maybe I’ll add some more stories later. I just want to honor him on his birthday by telling some of his story. I love you Papa.*

“Four Things I Learned from Papa” is forthcoming.

Papa, part 1

July 10th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

In honor of my grandpa’s birthday, I thought I would write about him a little.

My grandpa, or as I call him–Papa, turns 73 today. He was born in 1937 in East Liverpool, OH into extreme poverty. His father was an electrician and built their family home while his mother was a housewife. Papa has five brothers and sisters. Some have passed on now and some are still living. Papa hardly talks about them. I don’t think he cares for them anymore.

When he was a young child, he worked at a dairy. He was paid little–$2.00 a week (I think)–and on payday he would take his money home and give it all to his mother. Papa once told me that he felt it was partly his responsibility to help pay for things and take care of the house. He was 12 or 13. One summer at his dairy job, Papa ate so much vanilla ice cream that he couldn’t eat ice cream again until 20 years later.

When Papa turned 17, he joined the US Air Force. It was 1954. It was either join the air force, work at the dairy, or work in the pottery mills of Eastern Ohio. The latter two choices did not suit him. He wanted to leave, escape if you will, the confines of East Liverpool. So, the day after his birthday in 1954, he boarded a bus for Texas and basic training.

He married my grandma, or as I call her–Granny, in 1960 in Beebe, AR. They were married by a Justice of the Peace. (Since, this posting is about my grandpa, I won’t go into more details about my grandma for now.)

My Papa has many, many stories from his time in the air force. My favorite would be when he spent time in French and Spanish Morocco, now Morocco, in the 1950s. He was stationed in the desert outside Casablanca. He and his fellow soldiers had to hide the heating oil for their single potbelly stove to avoid having it stolen. He was issued one pillow and one wool blanket for his cot. He shared a yurt-type dwelling with 11 other soldiers. This is when Papa learned how warm newspapers could be. He would stuff newspapers between him and his wool blanket for added warmth at night. The heat during the day reached as high as the 120sF and the lows at night reached the 20s and 30sF.

He retired from the US Air Force in 1974 and then went to work for ITT-Federal Electric.

“Papa, part 2″ is forthcoming.

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