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OC HIGH: STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : A Telling Way to Keep Grampa's Legacy Alive

October 21, 1994|COURTNEY KNAPP | Courtney Knapp is a senior at Westminster High School

Not everyone in the family agreed about my grandfather's stories.

An older relative and I disagreed on how often we wanted to hear those stories. They were about serving on an aircraft carrier in World War II, being a safety inspector for the fire department and performing as a grand master for the Masonic lodge.

We both thought the world of Grampa--a loving, thoughtful, funny and sensitive man.

But whereas my relative prefers to hear a story once and then move on to another subject, I could sit and listen to Grampa's stories over and over.

He did tend to rattle on about things, but I'd always thought that was part of his charm. Some thought that senility was sinking in, but I didn't say anything. I just silently wished my relative had more patience for Grampa.

A simple story of Grampa's would always make me feel good. People who lived decades ago have seen more than the average child or teen. Besides showing love for me, Grampa shared his life with me, one of the most precious things a human can give another. Stories shared by older relatives can have amazing influence on a young person's life and character.

Grampa died June 24 in his sleep, 76 years young.

Stabs of shock and pain immediately shook his family and friends.

With him gone, we'd never hear him tell again about his plane crash in the battle of Leyte Gulf and of how he came home in a body cast. Or how he used to buy ice cream and a maple bar for lunch in high school for only 10 cents. I'd never hear him sing "School Days" to me on the first day of school, or come out into the workshop and see him covered in sawdust, with a big grin on his face.

But Grampa's stories won't go unheard. My family and I will continue to lovingly talk of him and of the stories that were about his life. He won't be forgotten.

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