things my poppa taught me

  • never EVER ask an engineer to “explain” something to you. later in life i would start to find it amusing, but early on – not so much. poppa was smart. knew about EVERYTHING. no matter what you asked him about, the explanation would involve some kind of schematic drawing. something with angles and dimensions and a long explanation though i pretty much expected a yes or no answer.
  • gifts – no matter what size – are fun! poppa was an excellent gift giver. he always brought me a surprise on the weekends in the summertime when my brother and i were out visiting family. most often, he brought me those play and read records? the story albums with the picture book that you turn when you hear a “beep” or some such sound to have you turn the page. i LOVED them. it was always something small, but just a little treat that was fun and let you know he was thinking of you.
  • “don’t look at it” – OK, obviously this needs context and i cannot guarantee he actually said this phrase, but he was at some point a stock broker. the only piece of his money advice in regards to stocks, investing and the like involved putting money in the market and not checking it every day. he was not an advocate for the day traders out there. he knew the market went up and down and it was a long term thing. i try and remind myself of this when i receive my quarterly statements in the mail.
  • a hat on a man of a certain age is really requisite to style.
  • wonderful mysteries surround us! poppa was nothing if not the master story teller and cultivator of imagination. driving to and from indianapolis in the summers, a town on the route is called “mauzy”. mauzy mauzy “>indiana, with a sign pointing the way. years of stories we had about mauzy – what was in mauzy? who lived there? how do you pronounce it? as i got older, i am grateful to have noticed some of the same word games and fun being played with my cousin’s children. additionally, all poppa needed was his old john deere and a wagon full of kids – if you don’t believe in a forest full of lions and tigers and bears OH MY!!!! out behind the barn, you never went on a safari with my poppa…
  • a man in a suit with salt and pepper hair is all kinds of handsome
  • wonderful, perfect people are not perfect. or always wonderful. i know nothing, NADA, zip, zero, nothing about my poppa ever doing something bad to someone or being a bad person. however, i can remember having a discussion about something random, something involving yard maintenance i think, and out popped a racial slur, the “N” word actually, from my poppas mouth. i was stunned. shocked. speechless actually. poppa never ever swore, always seemed to be the level headed man i knew him to be. this word out of his mouth, it was kind of shattering actually. he explained his choice of verbiage as a sort of “that’s what we called it” type of way, and i had never before or since heard him talk that way. i don’t know that it means he didn’t talk that way, or didn’t in certain company. but it did teach me something. people are not perfect, and although you cannot condone or perpetuate certain behaviors, even our heroes are sometimes imperfect. as am i.

1 Comment

  1. Deb from Michigan

    You’re so lucky to have had such a wonderful person in your life. It’s such a blessing as a youngster to have someone who truly thinks you are the smartest, prettiest, best, and all the other “est”s in the whole world. That feeling of being loved is amazing.

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