Tuesday, September 27, 2011

But You Can Call Me Pete

My Grandpa Pete (imagine piercing blue eyes and jet black hair)
This is a picture of my Grandpa Pete. I love that my Grandma wrote on it, "New Gas Man 1934." I guess it was taken the first day of his new job, which happened to turn into his career. I wonder if he had any idea that day he would be reading meters for the next 35 years. I wonder if my Grandma realized that writing "New Gas Man" on a picture would make me giggle so much.
My Grandpa was named Crandall, but everyone called him Pete. Can you blame him? He grew up in Kansas and then moved to California with his family sometime in the 1920's. They started an ice cream business. For some reason it fizzled out and my Grandpa always regretted the fact that they could have been as big as Baskin Robbins' 31 Flavors.
Grandpa Pete had a million stories. Even ones of him walking to school uphill barefooted in the snow. He grew up with 4 brothers on a farm and really loved his childhood.
I only remember meeting Glen and Ken. Glen was a lot like my Grandpa and Ken was his complete opposite. I can only imagine how much trouble they were. I remember my Grandpa telling me about them riding around town in L.A. and how someone would reach over to bump off the hats of people standing on the sidewalks. He would laugh when he would tell it to me and then say how that was really mean of them. I also remember Grandpa Pete telling me about auditioning for movie parts. One in particular he thought he would have gotten if he hadn't gone somewhere else that day. I really wish I would have written these stories down because I've forgotten so many of them.
By the time Grandpa was 17 he was married and settling down in Burbank with my Grandma. They bought their first house there for $4,000.00. Can you imagine? They stayed there for about 30 years before moving to Lake Isabella.
The sweetest thing my Dad ever said about his dad was, "I never remember my dad raising his voice at me, not once. Even the time I came home and woke him up to tell him I'd wrecked the car. He just said, 'Son, go to bed, we'll take a look at it in the morning.'" That was Grandpa alright, the sweetest man that ever lived. He was also the funniest.
One night while visiting him, we stayed up later than everyone else talking. He was in his late eighties. He started telling me about the time he and his family drove from Kansas to Mesa Verde in Colorado. He said they were driving a Model A Ford and it took forever. He remembered making ice cream at the KOA they stayed at and playing on a boulder in a friend of theirs' backyard that they visited on the trip. When he finished, he paused for a second and said laughing, "Hmm, I think I must have been about seven years old on that trip." He laughed again, and then paused dumbfounded shaking his head and said, "How did I ever remember that? I must be getting old." We laughed for a good 10 minutes after that.

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