I love my grandpa

Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 by Travis Cody in

That's really all I wanted to say today.  I love my grandpa.  And I miss seeing him.

He just made a major life change.  After more than 60 years in the house my mom grew up in, he has moved into a retirement community in San Mateo CA.

My mom and my sister helped him organize and downsize the stuff in the house.  Pam and I couldn't make it down to help.  I'm sad about that.  I have so many memories of that house.  I know it's just a place.  It's the memories that really matter. 

We had a great evening last night.  We met the gang downtown.  We ate and laughed, and ate and laughed, and drank and laughed some more.  Then we came home and my grandpa called me.  He doesn't do that often.  He says he intends to call me, but then he gets a little side tracked and by the time he remembers, it's late and he says he'll do it tomorrow.

Last night he wanted to tell me that he got my check and my monthly note.  I had sent it to the old address and the post office forwarded it to his new one.  He wanted to tell me, so he took advantage of a perk at his new home...he asked the front desk to call him at one bell at evening watch and remind him to call his grandson. 

Grandpa worked ships.  He often lapses and calls time by ship's watch.  One bell at evening watch is 20:30 hours, or 8:30pm.  The gal at the desk who entered the reminder for him knew that!  Grandpa was delighted that he didn't have to explain.  Grandpa has a clock that rings the bells of each watch.  It used to sit on the mantle.

I remember having a struggle learning to tell time correctly when I went to school because I thought in watch bells. 

He's 86 years old and has had only two addresses for his entire adult life...either aboard ship or at the house in South San Francisco.  The last time he moved was out of his parents' home and onto his first berth as an ordinary seaman.  He was 16...lied about his age.

My grandmother took care of the move into the house in South City because Grandpa's ship was on a 2-day turn in port...just long enough to sign the papers to buy the house.  When that tour ended and he was able to take extended leave, Gram picked him up at the harbor and drove him to the new house, which had been completely furnished and made ship shape.

That was in 1948.

So he had to tell me that it was nice of the post office to put a big yellow sticker on his mail, not just to make sure the mail got to his new home, but to remind him to tell the sender that he has a new address.

Mom had already sent me an email with that and his new phone number.  But my grandpa is a responsible man.  He said that it was the right thing to do to follow the instructions of the post office, and be sure to notify anyone who might mail him something to send it to his new address.

And I have dutifully written down the new address and phone number, even though I already have it in my yahoo contacts and in my phone.  After all, my grandpa called me specifically to tell it to me.

"My boy," he said.  "This yellow sticker on your letter says that the post office will forward all my mail, but that I should remember to advise my contacts and associates that I have moved.  I forget things, so it's good that they do that.  While I have your letter in front of me, I decided to call to give you my new address and telephone number."

He says telephone.

Nobody else calls me that, by the way.  Only my grandpa calls me "my boy".  It's comforting.  So I write him notes and call him every so often so I can hear him say it.  "My boy, I enjoy those notes" and "My boy, it's good to hear from you".

I'll miss that old house.  It's just a place, but it's the place where my mom grew up.  It's the place where my sister and I spent summers with our grandmother.  For half of my life I lived within 100 miles of that house and I could go there whenever I wanted...or needed.

Gram is buried less than 5 miles from that house.  Grandpa's new home is about 10 miles from it.  It's the place where my grandpa taught me to grill a steak, because a man should know how whether he does it every weekend or only a few times in his life.  It's the place were my grandpa told me that whatever I was going to do, I should always be determined to do it well.

I have photographs of the house, and so many memories. 

So yeah, that's really all I wanted to say today.

I'm counting down to 4 November with 30 Peace quotes and 100 reasons to blog for Peace. 

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."  Lao Tzu 

Reason 15:  For my grandpa.


  1. Jeff B says:

    A very touching tribute to a man who has clearly made an impact on your life. Hope he finds his new surroundings comfortable.

  1. A great tribute. I wrote a bit about aging myself today. I guess it's in the air.

  1. Lisa says:

    I love this post. I love that he calls you, "My boy", too...such classic grampa. :)

  1. Jeni says:

    Oh Travis! What a lovely piece. I can so relate to your feelings about your Grandfather, the house -the memories. I live in the house my grandparents built in 1903, was born in this house, grew up here with my grandparents and have been back "in residence" in this old home since 1979 now, after my Mom died. This place is full of memories for me -of my grandparents, my Mom, aunts, uncles, cousins and now, my daughter and grandchildren are repeating this process -building more memories for me and for my grandchildren as well. The memories -that's what it's all about, isn't it, Trav? So many, so beautiful to have as no one can take them away from us.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    This loving tribute to your grandpa brought tears to my eyes Trav and not just because I'm very emotional at this time because of my recent loss. Cherish your grandpa, he sounds like a wonderful man. xx

  1. Cherie says:

    That was so wonderful. Thank you for sharing that moment with us.

  1. I SO enjoyed this post, Travis. Your grandpa is my kind of guy.

  1. OK. I am bawling my eyes out.

    "he asked the front desk to call him at one bell at evening watch and remind him to call his grandson."

    and he calls you "my boy"
    and the house...of course you miss it! It is a transition for you too.

    I love the fact that you send him notes and that he calls you so sweetly. Golden moments. And I do mean golden.

  1. How wonderful to still have such a great relationship with your Grandpa. I love reading about how he tells time.

    (if you ever come to visit him, let me know!)

  1. I'm crying too.

    It brings to mind my grandmother who passed away five years ago. I miss her immensely.

    Thanks for such a touching post. I'm a sucker for the memories.