Tonight I sat down with the three older kids and read through 15 days worth of my grandfather’s journals from 1936 when he was 15 years old. Several things stuck out to the kids:
- Their great-grandfather (my grandfather) drove his dad to his job as a janitor every day, including Saturdays and Sundays. They noted that Gramps often helped his Dad mop floors and empty trash during his Dad’s night shift, and then would go to school.
- We also noticed that Gramps was only 15 when he was driving the family car. (Gramps would tell us that in fact he started driving a delivery truck in Iowa at about age 13.)
- Gramps and his brother and sisters went to the movies 3-4 times a week. When I asked the kids to speculate why so often, Kien-Tam gave the right answer: “There was nothing else to do.”
- The kids noted that Gramps often showered at the bank where his dad worked as a janitor. They speculated correctly that Gramps didn’t have a shower at home. They only had a wash basin and an outside toilet.
We compiled a list of six questions to ask Gramps and decided to give him a call in Denver. The kids did much of the talking, and Gramps gave his trademark detailed and funny answers. I tape recorded the conversation, which includes interesting stories about the time his mother found a turd in the wash basin and forced Gramps to bath in the dirty water, how he used to sneak into movie theaters, and what happened when Gramps’ father asked for a day off.
Here’s the taped phone conversation, just press the gray triangle on the button below: