So I went up to my attic, trying to find some memorabilia for a project Iâ€™m working on, about which I will tell you about soon. I didnâ€™t find the memorabilia, but I DID find 10 notebooks I used as diaries between 1979 and 1987, which will also be helpful for that aforementioned mysterious project. But it IS rather painful to read about your immature, self-absorbed thoughts from 25 years ago. (As opposed to my current MATURE, self-absorbed thoughts.)
One of the things I re-discovered was the death of my grandfather a quarter century ago this week. I knew he had died sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but the precise date had fled my memory.
Pop is what we (my parents, my sisters and I) called my fatherâ€™s father, McKinley Green. Everyone else called him Mac. My nuclear family lived downstairs in a very small two-family house in Binghamton. Pop and his wife, my Grandma Green, Agatha (and it was A gathâ€™ a, not Agâ€™ ath a) lived upstairs. This was one of two houses owned my motherâ€™s mother, Grandma (Gertrude) Williams, who lived about six blocks away. (HER death I remember quite well: Super Bowl Sunday, 1982.)
Pop was a janitor at WNBF-TV and radio; eventually, the TV station was sold, but he maintained his job at the radio station. Iâ€™m not quite sure just how old was, but he was well past the age of retirement, yet the station kept him on to work as long as he wanted, and as much as he wanted. He was such an amiable man that people liked him to be around.
He used to bring home albums (LPs) that had been discarded by the station. Most were “beautiful music” with no artist even listed, or in later years, obscure rock bands that I had never even heard of, but three discs stand out in my mind.
Pop was an avid hunter. He provided the vast majority of the venison Iâ€™ve ever eaten in my life. The only time I ever used a firearm was with Pop. We went out to the woods somewhere, and he gave me his rifle. I fired. Naturally, the recoil left me sitting on my butt. Pop also liked to bowl, work on cars, and especially go to the track, particularly in Monticello.
I used to go upstairs and play gin rummy with him while we watched Mutual of Omahaâ€™s Wild Kingdom. In the later years, Iâ€™d beat him about 50% of the time. On a bulletin board, he had a faded newspaper clipping of Ed Marinaro, the Cornell running back, who was the son or nephew of a friend of his; Marinaro eventually played Officer Joe Coffey on Hill Street Blues.
From my 6/26/1980 diary: “Pop was a very dark-skinned man with grey hair, thinning, but more prevalent than mine, combed straight backâ€¦ I recall a certain twinkle in his eye, though I hadnâ€™t seen him in a year and a half or longer; he was never home when I dropped by. I probably should have written more often, but he never wrote back…I would have called if had [had] a telephone, but he refusedâ€¦ The phone company would have required a deposit in switching service from Grandma Greenâ€™s name [she died in the mid-1960s] to his, even thoâ€™ he had been paying the bills, [so he had the phone taken out.] He was stubborn that way.”
I was going to write about Popâ€™s death, and I will soon. But it was nice to write a little about Popâ€™s life.