This part should really have been published before the last part about playing baseball but it is hard to be chronological since much happen over time, like the last part which was about my baseball career from 3-11.
This happened when I was 7 years old.
I had met my grandfather only a few times, since he lived in the U.S. and we in Sweden. We had probably visited them 4-5 times when I was 7.
When I was 7 we had recently come home (I am not sure how recently to be honest) from the U.S. when my parents told me about my grandfather.
I don’t remember much about him; only one memory is truly strong.
One morning I woke up really early, probably 5-6 am. I got up and went to the kitchen finding my grandfather sitting there.
I can see his face and I know we played cards, I remember him smiling.
That is the only really strong memory I have of him I am afraid.
But I do know a lot about him though. He was in the army, stationed in Great Britain as a airbase commander during the second world war.
Many times his friends (pilots) would ask him to come along on a flight, which was of course against regulations for him to join in on so he always declined, many times his friends didn’t come back.
He ran a very tight ship so for years he declined to come to the reunions afraid that the others would be angry at him for being so hard on them, until one year when my grandmother surprised him by booking them to go and then surprising him with it.
When they got to the party he was nervous but something amazing happened.
Many went up to him, introducing their families and telling their children “If it wasn’t for this man I wouldn’t be here and neither would you, I owe him my life”.
I am very proud of this and always well up when thinking about it and how incredible it must have been for him.
When he got back from the war he worked in a winery and grew flowers and corn.
He won many prizes for his flowers and was great at his job.
Sadly though my grandparents had a pretty poor retirement; Just before my grandfathers retirement his company was sold, but with the condition that the new company keep him on till he retired. They agreed and he taught them all he knew about running a winery. A couple years before his retirement, when they had learned everything they needed from him, they fired him.
When he was young he played softball, he was born left handed but of course been taught to use his right hand. This made him an incredible hard ball pitcher, he could throw both right and left handed.
Finally he died at around 75 (I am honestly not sure of his exact age) in his third cancer. He was incredibly unlucky; he survived a world war, 2 separate cancers and then a third, separate cancer got him.
The odds of getting 3 separate cancers are next to none, but I am proud of his strength in conquering 2. The third was a tumor.
When we got to know about his death me and my father flew to San Francisco, my mother and little brother (Michael) stayed home since we had just been to the U.S. and my parents couldn’t take more time off work.
I remember the funeral only vaguely, there were 3 soldiers who performed a 21 gun salute and planes, I think there were 5 but I am not certain, that flew above.
I am very proud of my roots but very sad that I never really got to know my grandfather.
The same goes for my mother’s father, I never met him, but I have heard he was an incredible man. I have been very unlucky with my grandfathers but on the other hand both my grandmothers are still alive and well, so I still consider myself blessed in that regard.
I am jumping back a little now; he died when I was 7. I never knew my mother’s father and I only have vague memories of my dad’s father.
I love those memories though and his death did come as a chock.