My wife asked me to do a post about my Grandpa Rose as she never got to meet him… he doesn’t much fit into just one post so we’ll see what happens here.
Life and Legacy
My grandfather was one of 7. Born in a very small Pennsylvania cabin to a Jewish mother and a drunkard father who abandoned them to poverty. In grade school he walked home at lunch each day, hiding from his classmates that they had not enough money for lunch. In order to help provide for the family, he dropped out of high school (awarded a highschool diploma only late in life for service to his country) . He enlisted in the Navy, where he served as a signalman – nestling his service between the end of World War 2 and the Korean War. Were it not for an early, honorable discharge in order to care for his sick mother just before the escalation of the Korean War, it is likely he would have been held for a longer term.
He met his wife-to-be when she was on a date with his friend… after he jumped in the car and kidnapped her while his friend was paying for gas. They were later married and had 3 children. He lived for his family, going without himself so they could have. It was through his sacrifices and hard work that he climbed out of the legacy of poverty to which he was born. He built the house my dad grew up in – my mom reflects that even while dating my dad the house still had plywood floors and curtains for doors. These are the sacrifices of comforts for the sake of his family that he made.
In addition to his Navy service, his career included driving a towel delivery truck (where he made the front page of the local newspaper “man turns over truck swatting fly”) and later work for textile unions (with such excitement as being briefly jailed for demonstrations).
Richard Claire Rose and his brother/friend Paul Rose each named their eldest sons after each other for a first name and themselves for a middle name. Thus my father – Paul Richard Rose – and my father’s cousin – Richard Paul Rose. Each of those named their eldest son’s for their fathers and themselves, thus Richard Paul Rose (me) and Paul Richard Rose (my second cousin).
Confused yet? Just try being the man on the other line of the phone when they attempted to order fishing licenses for the lot of them.
…a character he was! Always mischievous, always an infectious laugh. One of my dad’s memories was a time a pizza parlor where Grandpa started a food fight, throwing a piece of pizza across the room. My dad in shock asked “…what if I had done that?” Grandpa- “I’d of kicked your ass” Dad – “that’s what I thought.” He stern and forceful when necessary. He was a family man and loved kids. He was well liked by all who knew him. Honorable. Dependable. Hard working.
Memories – McDonalds
An old McDonald’s commercial, when I was just about 4 years old, featured a Grandfather taking his grandchildren to breakfast at McDonald’s. I turned and said “I bet my grandpa would do that for me” and so the tradition began that anytime Grandpa came to visit, he took us to McDonald’s for breakfast. It wasn’t until reflecting for my speech at his funeral that I realized all that time I didn’t even like McDonald’s breakfast food… I just liked being with my grandpa.
Memories – visiting
When we moved to Atlanta, myself at the age of 6, it provided the opportunity for Summer visits with just me and my cousin of closest age. I remember the car rides with Grandpa, always he would sing “on the road again” after any rest stops. “Knee crabs” were a treacherous part of a car rid with Grandpa – though we tried hard to convince him that we had sprayed for such pests.
As the oldest grandson, and always a traveler I had the chance to share quite a few visits. When I was old enough to drive and they were retired to summer’s with their travel trailer in the Florida pan handle – I made several trips down. We shared a love for seafood and would always pick up some clams and shrimp or crawdads.
One car ride when I was younger provided a memorable moment for me to turn and say “Grandpa. You’ve made my life miserable.” With much shock for sure he asked why that was. I replied “you know all those rotten things you did to my dad? Well now he’s doing them to me!” Grandpa was known for teasing and for reusing good material. My dad used to lift that material to use on us and always tell us “when I was little my dad used to do this to me and I couldn’t wait to have my own kids to do it to them”
There were many Grandpa-isms. Little sayings he had that probably wouldn’t translate well to the outsider. I have to say I can’t just sit and produce many on the fly, but there are hundreds of little things that happen in life to bring to mind a grandpa-ism. He’d smack you in the arm and wait for you to say “what was that for?” then say “that was for nothing, just wait until you do something”
Grandpa the Cook
What started this post was my relaying a Thanksgiving story to my wife. One year we had the whole extended family together for Thanksgiving and Grandpa would let no one in the kitchen – he had the entire meal covered. He liked to cook and would go through magazines and newspapers for interesting recipes to try out. That Thanksgiving we had many, I think he cooked for days in preparation.
Grandpa the Repairman
Ok, so this is this wasn’t the most elegant of his qualities, but darned if it didn’t get done in the end! As mentioned, he did built his house, but a project with Grandpa always meant something would end up broken. And when he broke one thing, he’d probably get mad and break yet another – putting a hammer through a roof, etc. Yosemite Sam cursing sounds emanating from his mouth all the while.
Grandpa is missed. And I regret most that he never got to meet my wife who he would love, my son who he would find to be a riot, and my daughter who he would adore. I can still hear his infectious laugh. I will always feel the effects of his legacy left behind, and proudly wear the name Richard Rose.