Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I miss my grandpa

Yesterday, as I was waiting for the train to come back to Chicago, I eavesdropped on a girl named Andrea and her dear, downstate grandpa. She was in her late teens/early 20s and was in her hometown to get her bike and other odds and ends she had at his house. He clearly didn't want to let her go. "You can come home any Friday night and leave on Sunday," he reminded her of the Amtrak schedule. He made her check her wallet, right there on that platform, to make sure she had the $20 it would take her to get from the Chicago train station to her apartment. She had $8. He gave her a $50, and said wistfully, "Maybe I could come up some weekend to catch a Cubs game ..."

Helping her load her Huffy bike onto the train, he told all of us, "That bike is going to Wrigleyville, by Cubs park." He was clearly as proud of her for going off to the big city as he was sad to say goodbye.

Because of the conductor and the bike, Andrea got separated from her grandfather. She wasn't able to kiss him but she did call out to him, "I love you, Grandpa!"

You should, Andrea, you should. Treasure him. No one is ever going to love you as unconditionally as your grandpa.

My grandpa died when I was a junior in high school and I miss him still. He was endlessly patient with me. He encouraged me to read aloud to him and would "oooh" and "aaah" over my original compositions. He laughed at all my jokes and could not abide my tears. I thought he made up the song, "Come to me, my Melancholy Baby" just for me, to comfort me when I cried. No one hugged like my grandpa. I remember the feel of his chest hair against my cheek and the smell of his cigars and licorice throat lozenges. He celebrated my spirit and independence, when everyone else in the family was calling me "difficult" and "mouthy."

Andrea, dear girl, you don't know how lucky you are to have that man, waiting for you on the platform.


  1. Oh, what a lovely post. You made me miss my Grampy. He was so devilishly charming.

  2. What lucky gals you and Andrea both are!


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