Memories of my grandfather
by Karl(1of1) (2005-11-09 01:07:26)
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  In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you?  posted by Board Ops

I didn't know my grandfather (on my dad's side) very well. He was 69 when I was born, and his hearing was mostly gone. Soon after that he had cataract surgery and couldn't see very well either. Communication was difficult.

Even if the physical ailments hadn't prevented it, our family is somewhat reserved by nature, and Grampa was the archetype of this. I don't believe there are any extant pictures of him smiling. Physical or audible signs of affection are rarely given; the love is there, but the signs are muted. A pat on the shoulder means "I'm proud of you and I love you."

He was in many respects an admirable man, a basketball star in his youth (around 1920), a graduate from Wisconsin in engineering, who kept his family fed during the Depression partly by playing poker (the greatest poker face in history), a Civil War scholar, a succesful businessman, a Knight of Columbus, who loved his wife and family. He was an Irish fan from the early days and sent his son to Notre Dame and his daughter to St. Mary's. But I didn't know him very much.

Towards the end of his life, as I said, he couldn't hear or see very well. We got him cable television, which he couldn't figure out, in order that he could watch Notre Dame football. The last memory that I have of him was going over to his house on a Saturday morning to turn his television on so he could watch the game.

Grampa let me in, but was a bit confused. I turned the TV on and shouted "It's so you can watch the Notre Dame game." "What?" "The Notre Dame game!"

As I put my coat on and got ready to leave, he looked at me, flashed a rare smile, patted me on the shoulder, and said "I don't know why you're here, but I'm glad you came."

That's the last time I ever saw him. He died in 1990, having lived to see one last national championship.


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