The Ghost of My Grandfather Haunts the Bathroom Downstairs

Posted: December 12, 2012 in Life
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One of the very first people I looked up to was my Grandfather. We lived with him and my Grandmother all their lives. Like a lot of little kids, probably, I adored my grandparents. When he found out I wanted a keyboard, he sold his venerable Martin guitar in order to get me one.  We used to play checkers with Oreos, and I would try to teach him about dinosaurs. Whenever my Dad would try to beat me, my Grandfather would step in –  physically coming between us, when he had to. He was basically a farm boy, and spent a lot of his life either working at a paper factory or in a scrap yard. When I was still very little, he got me a dog, which he trained. He could do pretty much anything with animals. This dog would let me ride him like a horse (the dog was huge – some sort of sheepdog/shepherd mix I think), pull my sled for me, and even let me put sunglasses on him without complaint. I have a Polaroid somewhere of Rocky wearing my big red Mickey Mouse sunglasses. He was a very cool dog.

One time my Grandfather was painting the garage. When he came up for lunch, I went down to check out his work. He was in the process of painting the garage white. I decided in that moment that I would rather have a white dog (Rocky was black) and painting him seemed to be the most logical thing to do. So he stood there while I painted him white. My grandfather caught me in the act (I was nearly done) and laughed till he cried. Rocky had to be practically shaved, poor thing.

The one and only time I saw my Grandfather cry was one of the last times I saw him. I was probably about 6 or 7, and hadn’t seen him for quite some time that day. The downstairs bathroom door was open, so I peered in – he was sitting in there crying and holding his chest. I immediately knew something was wrong, and suddenly heard Grandma on the phone calling an ambulance. He knew I was there, but he didn’t look at me – he just kept his eyes closed as silent tears rolled down his face.

The last glimpse I got was when they wheeled him through the ER. We’d spend the next week or two in an eternity of waiting rooms, eating bad green Jell-O in hospital cafeterias, only to find out he didn’t make it.

I remember having an argument with one of my castmates about him – telling them he died when he was 27 of a heart attack (it was actually 72, I got the numbers mixed up). My friend insisted that he must not have been very healthy if he died at 27 of a heart attack. That made me angry, and we got into a bit of an argument over it.

Anyway, the moral of the story is this: At age 30, I am still reluctant to go into that bathroom.

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Comments
  1. Reed says:

    Here’s to black, er, white, er, black Rocky and his rockin’ red Mickey Mouse shades, keeping company now with your awesome grandfather!

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