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This is a question Grandparents

My awesome grandad flew in Wellingtons in the war. Damn, those shortages were terrible. Tell us about brilliant-stroke-rubbish grandparents.

Suggested by Buffet the Appetite Slayer

(, Thu 2 Jun 2011, 21:51)
Pages: Popular, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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Pappou . . .
Long story to follow . . .

My grandfather (Dad's dad) was a farmer born in southern Greece in 1909. He lived for most of his 91 years in the same village (with the exception of military service and WWII, where he served at the front).
I first met him in 1985, the first time my folks, brother and I visited Greece on a holiday. At the time, he was 74 years old, and still getting up at 5am to tend the animals and fields (and spending time spoiling his grandchilren . . . )
I thought he was a legend. Witty, funny, and full of stories about any topic you could name. Articulate, well mannered and with the most beautiful handwriitng I'd ever seen (I still have letters he used to write to us here). My cousins in Greece at the time also used to tell me he spoke English, but he never demonstrated his skills, and since they couldn't speak English, they couldn't copy him.
Now, the ten year old me probably didn't make the connection (or, rather, see the discrepancy) between an old farmer and his well-educated manner. As I got older, he continually reinforced that I should do well at school, I should make sure I had a decent job (via letters or phone) - don't get too fussed about getting married (my grandmother had a big thing about me getting a good husband once I hit 16 or so).
In all my grandfather's stories, he didn't talk too much about his earlier life - ony my Dad would fill in the details. He finished a high school equivalent at 16, and should have gone onto some university education (since he did very well in his final exams), but he was one of seven chidren, with three unmarried sisters. Two of his brothers left for overseas, leaving him and one brother to provide a dowry for three girls. So, that's uni scratched then.
After his sisters were married, he then had to find a wife of his own. This was right at the beginning of WWII, which delayed a famiy somewhat. He was sent to the front (at that time, the Albanian border), in the early part of 1942 for a year. My aunt was born in 1944, a year after he got back, with three other children to follow.
He was the village scribe/writer of contracts for a very long time (as he was one of the few people who could write), and made a point of sending his only daughter to school (this was very unusual . . . many fathers didn't beieve it was necessary for a woman to read/write if her vocation was to keep house and have children). The "English" he could speak was actualy French, and on my last visit to him whilst he was still alive, he could still have a basic conversation in it.
In 2000, he was 91 years old and still a smarty-pants whenever on the phone:)
I got to tell him I had finished Uni, and he seemed genuinely happy.
Unfortunately, soon after, he got a chest infection that landed him in hospital (itself not a serious problem). He might have returned home, except for a medical fuck-up where he was left with an unrecordable bood pressure for a few hours and was presumed dead (note, not resuscitated, but presumed dead). My uncle was asked to make the necessary arrangements. He was then found to be breathing. During his "period of death" he had however suffered a heart attack, and became delerious. He was discharged home, and spent one week of claiming the Albanians were after him, and not recognising his own wife. On the day he died, he was lucid and knew he was going - he insisted on speaking with his children who were overseas. His funeral had 500 people in attendance (with the population of the village being about 300 at the time).
None of my grandparents are alive any longer, and I got to know three of them and loved them all, but eleven years on, I can't think about my grandfather without tearing up - that he won't be here to see his two grand-daughters (my neices), or to meet Mr Legless and give me his brutally honest opinion of him, or to see his only grand-daughter get married. I feel rather cheated by fate.
(, Sun 5 Jun 2011, 6:11, 4 replies)
Ah, the Greek healthcare system... gotta love it.
The missus has a few horror stories to tell on that score.
(, Sun 5 Jun 2011, 18:17, closed)
You forgot to say 'cheers'.

(, Mon 6 Jun 2011, 7:36, closed)
Wrong Sex

you pathetic fuckwit...

(, Mon 6 Jun 2011, 10:58, closed)
Cool, you're mixing things up
For a long while there you'd become really dull
(, Mon 6 Jun 2011, 11:56, closed)

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