January 8, 1925 is my grandfather, Lefty's birthday. His names was actually James but because he was left-handed, he got the nickname "Lefty".
I don't know as much as would like to know about my grandfather, he passed away almost 27 years ago. He was 57 years old and both my grandparents were in a car accident coming home from seeing the play South Pacific. Lefty spent 6 months in the hospital, mostly in ICU.
I was his first grandchild and the only other person in our family who is also a southpaw. We had a very special bond. He taught me to write as well as many other things.
I know that after quite a few years, memories tend to fade. It has become a running joke in the family that we have raised Lefty's memory to sainthood. "Saint Lefty" But I don't have one memory where he was ever unkind or even angry. I'm sure his children, my mother and uncle, can probably tell you some, but not me. Here's what I can tell you.
He was a carpenter and built the house that I grew up in which was right next store to his house. (Later, Kendra, my mother's best friend, bought the house from us. So now, I still get to spend holidays there) He was also foreman when they built the Elementary School that I went to.
He always wore a button down shirt with a pocket protector and his glasses case.
He always smelled of Vitalis and my favorite place in the whole world was on his lap.
He was once Exalted Ruler of our local Elk Club and his picture hangs on the wall when you walk in. We go there a lot for dinner or parties and I say hello every time. Even my girls say hello now.
When my grandmother was alive, she used to tell me that I married someone who reminded her of Lefty so much that she was amazed. Matt never got to meet him, which is truly unfortunate.
Here are just a few pictures that I have of Lefty. I don't know really anything about these pictures, like when they were taken or how old he was at the time.
I know these are a little small, but I can't get them any bigger.
This one was taken by Life Magazine. There was a Marine Raider reunion at a hotel downtown Chicago back in the 1950's. Lefty is the one right up front.
He lied about his age and joined the Marines when he was 17. I know that he served as a Raider in the South Pacific, but he never discussed the war, EVER. So, that's all I know about his military career. I do know that Marine Raiders were Bad-Asses! (I must have inherited that as well as the left-handedness) They were first ones in, last ones out.
Even though he died almost 27 years ago, I still think of him everyday.
I love you Grandpa and I miss you so much! Happy Birthday to you and Elvis.
Thank you, and I'm sorry for bringing the room down.