Friday, January 26, 2007

Pens and Pocket Knives

My mother’s father was a larger than life figure… a true man’s man. And, someone I have tried to emulate my entire life. The other day, when I posted Tool Box Thursday, I started thinking about my grandfather, who passed away more than a few years ago. He was my ultimate resource for all things tool related and beyond. He was a man who could fix anything; from a broken radio to a crushed dream.

He spent most of his life working for Grumman Aerospace, now called Northrop-Grumman. The company is a large defense contractor that for years was based right here on Long Island, and built many aircraft, including the F-14 Tomcat made famous by the movie Top Gun.

Like many men of his generation he didn’t attend college, instead a trade school. He served in the Marines during World War II, then had children and moved to the suburbs. He was electrical engineer who achieved the prestigious job title of Final Inspector. Nothing left the hanger without his stamp of approval. Literally, he had a small stamp with his initials that embossed all the electrical components of a particular aircraft. The pinnacle of his career was working on the first lunar module that would land on the moon. The old joke in our family has always been that he never made it to the moon but his initials did. There are still warplanes today, flying around, protecting us, with his initials in them.

As a little boy I always looked forward to going to his house, often I would stay over night and just tag along from project to project. My grandfather never sat still, always something to fix, tweak, improve, tear down and build again. I was the original Helper. Now you know where my little guy gets it from.

One memory, that came rushing back the other day while I was writing my post, was my grandfather's pen and pocket knife. He always had the same Parker stainless steel pen in his front left shirt pocket and a small, very sharp, pocket knife in his left rear pants pocket. It seemed that with these two items he could rebuild an engine or frame a house. To be honest, he probably could.

Men learn how to be men from other men. We learn how to treat a woman by watching our fathers love our mothers, and our grandfathers honor and care for our grandmothers. We learn how to be gentlemen from watching true gentle men. Father’s are not easily impressed by their sons, but they’re always proud of them. As men, we’re remembered by the character of the men we raise.

To this day, I have never left the house without my stainless Parker pen or my pocket knife in my left rear pant pocket.

I love you Grandpa… thanks for the tools… and the knowledge and ability to use them... I'll make you proud!

47 comments:

Angel said...

Wow, words just escape me at the moment.

Beautiful post.

Angel said...

A lovely post. It's amazing how simple things can profoundly effect you.

As always you write so that the emotion is felt easily.

My son follows my father like that and my father fixes things always. Perhaps he'll have similiar memories. Thanks for sharing!

P.S. Are the double Angels confusing you?

Long Island Dad said...

Just let me know... is there a third Angel, and if so, where's Charlie?

Angel said...

LMAO... thus far there is only two of us here. And Lioux has claimed the job of Charlie.

Long Island Dad said...

It was fine when she was DramaMama, but then she enacted a name change and the wheels came off! The whole system is in chambles. If you're going to blog with men, you must keep it slow and simple.

Angel L. said...

Perhaps my adding my middle initial will help. If not, just let me know and I can stop commenting, I'd hate to confuse you daily. :(

Long Island Dad said...

Much better... keep those comments flowing...

Terry said...

What an awesome post!! Thanks LID for sharing. My grandfather died when I was a small child, but whenever I smell a cigar I am always reminded of him!!

Very Touching...

I would apply for the "Angel" position, but my halo is broken!!

Angel L. said...

Terry...Mine has horns poking through it. LOL. You can be honorary, I know my sisters used to call me devil.

It is a fantastic post. It got me thinking about my dad and son and their relationship. I hope my son grows to feel that way about my dad. There is something wonderful about a memory like that that you have.

Angel said...

ok, i didn't change it, for some reason it switched from dramamama to Angel and I have no idea why. I'll see if I can change it back. Sorry folks.

(Honorary) Angel said...

Am I too late?? Lioux hasn't phoned in yet with our new assignment, has he??

Sorry LID, the devil made me do it!!

Angel L. said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

funny Terry (honorary Angel)

Terry said...

Yeah, I could not resist!!

Shionge said...

Dear LID,

I have just have to swing by and 'catch' this and at the same time sending my greetings to you :D

"Men learn how to be men from other men........." I want to share that when my husband was a little boy, he witnessed his Father came home drunk, tied my MIL and whipped her. Till now, he has never forgiven his Father but instead, a very filial son and a very loving husband coz he will never do what his Father did.

Because he didn't learn any values from his Father as such, although he might be loving, he is 'lost' at times. That's why, he enjoyed my Father's company very much, sadly, my Dad passed away two years ago and I am still feeling a void without him.

I must congratulate your wonderful post because it certainly brought back fond memories of my Grandfather & my Father.

It is absolutely wonderful to read your perspective on fatherhood and I will be back again. I wish my husband read about stuff like this coz I think the hindrance is communication at times.

Thank you for your time and hav a wonderful weekend :D

Cheers!
Shionge

Mamma said...

This is truly a perfect post!!

Congrats!!!

I'll be back.

Susie J said...

I have those same kind of flashbacks about my Grandmother. How profound -- thank you for sharing.

Mano said...

Hi,

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