Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Grandfather I Never Knew

I was feeling a little nostalgic today.

I don't know why, but upon visiting my grandfather today I wanted to learn more about our family's past.

I found out many years ago when applied for a passport that on my father's application form that his surname was different to ours.

Quietly I asked my mother about this strange discrepancy and she looked at me softly and said,
"Maybe your father should tell you about it."

I could sense something weird bubbling up inside me. Immediately I began thinking that my father was a tax cheat, or an ax murderer, or maybe a real-life James Bond, nothing to what I expected his real answer to be...

"Dad," I asked when he came home from work that day, "how come on your birth certificate it has Hindle as your surname?"

I could sense my father was a little shocked at my question, obviously mum hadn't prepared him. He smiled and for a moment I thought he was going to cry, I quickly added a little humour by adding,

"Are you a top secret spy?"

He turned the smile into a short laugh and then took me under his arm and guided us to the couch. It was going to be a long answer.

"When I was a little younger than you are now," he started (I was 13 at the time I received my passport), "my real father passed away."

He looked at my reaction knowing that although that was all I needed, a barrage of questions were now bottlenecking at the tongue.

"What??" was the first one that popped out.

"That's right," he confirmed, "if my father was still alive today we'd be Hindle's."

"What happened?" evolved the second question.

"Well, one day a truck driver was late on his delivery and asked your grandfather Roy for help with unloading the carcasses from the truck. As Roy began unloading a blood vessel in his brain burst and he died instantly."

I was beginning to get a little choked up in the throat and I could see my father staring off into the distance trying to fight off the tears that had been welling up for so long. I didn't want to continue probing so I left it at that and re-visited it again later in life.

But today I decided to ask my, I suppose you could call him, my step-grandfather if he knew Roy as he had spoken about him in times past.

Today though I was able to glean a lot about the grandfather I never knew.

He was a tall man, such as myself and apparently quite strong (such as myself).


Very polite (but wasn't that the norm back then?) and also shy and reserved (hmmm?).

Smoked (but again that was the norm), but strangely never drank - which explains why none of my father's side of the family drinks too!

He was a prolific reader and oddly enough would eat honey and banana sandwiches (here I was thinking I was the only person whoever eats that stuff!).

I definitely enjoyed travelling down memory lane today as I'm fascinated at the people who were responsible for how I came to be today.

1 comment:

FJ said...

Ryan. Wow.

I don't know what to say.