book excerpt from Is That The Shirt You’re Wearing?
My grandfather died when I was only five. I barely knew him or anything about him. Any effort to find out more never panned out because my dad didn’t want to talk about him. Maybe it was too hard; I don’t know.
So when my own father died, I decided that I’d write down what I knew about him in case my kids ever had the same questions:
Grandpa was born in Los Angeles to a tile setter and a housewife, the only child of three to survive childhood. As a teenager during World War II, he dutifully enlisted in the Navy and served on a destroyer in Japanese waters where he saw the flag raised at Iwo Jima. He smoked and swore like the sailor he was. After the war, he attended UCLA on the G.I. Bill, where one day a new girl was added to his carpool. He and his best friend decided that if she was pretty she could sit up front with them. Naturally, Grandma did.
They married and after heeding her request to quit swearing, had five dynamic and stunningly attractive children. He worked for JPL/NASA for over forty years, on projects that furthered our knowledge of our solar system. His second home was the church down the street, spending his leisure hours in its service.
But these are just the facts. There’s more to know.
Grandpa was a genius who knew the answer to most every question ever asked. The ones he didn’t know, he researched and got back to you.
Grandpa was a funny, dry-witted man who loved all types of humor, from the clever wordplay of Ogden Nash to the silly antics of Monty Python. He was especially fond of the Dead Parrot routine.
Grandpa was an old-fashioned parent and a strict disciplinarian, but one who softened with age, relaxing his rules on vegetable consumption, and even rewarding his youngest children with a swimming pool and a puppy. (read more on Huffington Post)