This is my biological grandfather. He passed away when my mother was nine years old, but he has always kind of loomed in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, the man my grandma remarried before I was born and who has been present my entire life (and is still going at 93), is my grandfather, but Ernie up there has still played a small, but significant part.
Obviously my mom’s whole trajectory was changed by losing her father at the age she did, and I think that’s what ultimately inspired her to go into a medical field. That allowed me a lot of opportunities that I would maybe not have had otherwise.
I have to say though, that the best part of the stories about my grandpa Ernie are about him wooing my grandma. She had been holding out for the right guy, she was older at around 21 for the time, (early 1940’s), compared to her friends that were already married. Ernie had been a state champion Golden Gloves boxer and my grandma wanted nothing to do with a boxer. He also wasn’t catholic. Two huge strikes against him before he could even walk up and say hello.
This man quit boxing and joined the church basketball league so he could meet my grandmother and sort of relentlessly pursued her for months before she would go out on a date with him from what I understand. When she finally said yes, I believe she fell in love rather quickly.
I love this picture of him because it shows his Winsome ways and what must have eventually won her over (they were married by the time of this photograph). He seems a bit impish in this photo and it just makes me smile.
Sometimes it’s the old family stories that are the best.
Photo from my collection