Friday, 19 September 2008

My Poppa

My Poppa died when I was about eight, so I only have a few hazy memories of him. They are mostly of his bent, gaunt figure standing around his garden, with his hands supporting his back, pipe hanging out of his mouth.
I remember he had a working Morse code machine in his pottering shed, a model train set, and, so my mother tells me, a fair few bottles of gin.
He used to send my sister and me photographs of hedgehogs that appeared on their lawn, writing on the back as if it were a postcard, which all our family still do today.

I knew that he'd been in the airforce during World War II, and that he'd been decorated for some daring stunt, but I never knew the full details until last week when Mum sent a cutting up from a researcher who was writing about DFC recipients in New Zealand.

I got quite choked up reading this, and wished that I had known more about it when I was younger. It's one thing to think of the man staring into space over the bluebells, but yet another to think of him landing a plane in choppy seas knowing that he had 5 kids at home and a boring bank manager job to go back to.

Moral of the story - get to know your grandparents while you can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was born, I actually had a living great-great grandfather, as well as several great-grandparents. Even as of a year ago, I still had all four of my grandparents. So I've been really lucky in that department.