Just think about celebrating an 85th birthday- 85 years is a long, long time! Born in 1923, he’s seen 14 of the 22 Canadian Prime Ministers¹ in his lifetime. He’s had 6 kids, 9 grandkids, 10 great grandkids and 1 great, great grandkid. And counting. When I was born, my grandpa was only 52 years old, a full 10 years *younger* than my dad is now. And am one of the youngest of his grandkids (7th of the 9). Stuff like that just blows my mind. Especially since I live so far away from my family and only get to see them every few years, I forget how much everyone has aged. When I think of my family, I picture my parents in their 40s and my grandparents in their 60s. They were considerably older than that when I left Ontario, so I have no idea why these are the ages that have stuck in my mind.
Some fun random things about my grandpa (if you can believe his tall tales and my shoddy memory):
- one of my fondest memories from my childhood is tobogganing with my grandpa on my birthday (although it might have been my cousin’s birthday… or possibly some random, non-birthday day). He got me and all of my cousins these orange Howard Johnson toques (he worked at the HoJo at the time)
- Grandpa is blind in one eye from bovine tuberculous, which he contracted when he was young. He wanted to fight in WWII and so he memorized the eye chart in order to pass the eye exam part of the physical. It worked, but his dad, who had fought in WWI, including at Vimy Ridge, ratted him out and so he never went to war.
- Grandpa tells the same jokes, repeatedly. Apparently this trait is genetic, as a number of his children and grandchildren do the same thing.
- Fortunately, longevity runs in my family. My Great Granny (my grandpa’s mom) lived to 98 years old². So I look forward to celebrating my grandpa’s birthday for at least another 13 years =)
¹Speaking of which, I haven’t forgotten this week’s installment of my prime ministerial series. It just got preempted by hockey playoff action. It will run in tomorrow’s blog and then will resume its regularly scheduled Sunday spot this weekend.
²Or was it 99?