Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Storyteller

My youngest son was born a few weeks before my grandfather passed away. My grandson Jack was born a few weeks before my dad passed away. Strange how history repeats. I hope my grandson waits a loooonnnnggg time to have kids. So here I am - JaxPop posting something about 'Dave's Pop'. (Dave would be me. What... you thought JaxPop was my real name???) Ahem...

The picture at the top of this post truly represents the beginning of my love for stories. It's an old watercolor from 1898 in a battered frame. I was just a wee lad when this was painted. Ahem... This picture hangs in a large closet in the master bedroom sitting room - where many of my books are shelved (hundreds). As much as I love this old painting, it ain't makin' it to the hallowed walls to mix with Debs 'tropicasual' decor.

It was given to me in 1980, just after 'Pop' was buried. When I was a kid, I stayed at my grandparent's house at least one weekend every month. This picture hung in his room (next to a cut out Santa that I 'colored' when I was about 3 - sentimental old codger he was). My grandparents had separate rooms - someday I'll post about that happy relationship. (Hint - it's funny.)

Pop was from a large family - 15 kids altogether & I think he was number 10 out of the brood. School wasn't a big priority in those days so at the tender age of 9 he went to work, in the coal mines no less, to help pay the bills &, I guess, to make it easier for great grandpa & grandma to continue adding to the population of the Pennsylvania Dutch community. The point is, even without the education, he was a magnificent storyteller.

It became a game. Whenever I visited, I would ask what the big guy was saying to the little chubby guy. Pop had the most twinkly blue eyes & he always started his tales with a squint. (Why do I remember that?) He never disappointed. His stories would go on for nearly an hour, & I didn't budge an inch. He loved it when I would hit him with questions because he could keep elaborating. In the end, I suppose, I've decided that the tall guy in the picture was & would forever be 'the boss'.

Years later, I started making up stories to tell my boys (I posted about this before) & a couple years ago, I started writing. A key chapter in my completed YA MS incorporates my grandfather as a character, making him the one ultimately responsible for acquiring a certain diary & map, both integral components to my tall tale based here in St Augustine. Thanks Pop - for the tales & the inspiration.

Hopefully my stories will do 'Dave'sPop' proud.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love your posts! Great storytelling must run in the family!

~~ATTIC CLUTTER~~ said...

Oh that is a lovely story about POP (:) thanks for sharing I enjoyed it..You are a great story teller... Patty

JaxPop said...

Hi Patty - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the story about 'Pop' - he was quite a guy. I'm thinking of posting some stories about my dad in the future. That'll be tough for me, we were really close & HE was truly an amazing man. 'Pop' had a country club-like childhood compared to his.

I checked out your blog & website - Wow!! Creative!!! The monkey dolls brought back another memory. My grandmother made something similar (using a light brown colored sock as I recall) & sewed glasses on it. It made the tour onboard whatever Navy ship(s) my uncle sailed on during the last part of WW2. I wish I had a picture to share.

Time to call it a night - Thanks again!!!