About three months ago my grandfather died. He was born in 1938, he died homeless
, in the back of his pickup truck in July of 2000.
He was a proud man and had been kicked out of his sister
's house just a few weeks prior to his death. His body was found two weeks after his death
. The news shocked me. I hadn't talked to him in a couple of years, but he was the only grandfather I had ever known.
Yesterday I sat transfixed as my mother went through the collection of photograph
s, letters and other odds and ends
she had inherited. "Gramps" as he was always known to us, was a bit of a packrat
. I regret that I never took the time or the effort to get to know him better. Now I must beg my mother for copies of photograph
s school yearbook
s, report card
s, letters and newspaper
clippings in order to fill this void.
My Grandfather grew up in Humbold County in Northern Califonia. His father was a stern man. He grew up hunting and fishing in the forests and rivers of California
. He was a champion archer
and an accomplished hunter. He didn't do all that well in school but participated in many activites, playing baseball
as well as swimming. From what I can tell he was quite the ladies man in his time, may photographs of him with attractive
young ladies, most containing some message to him from her written on the back:
"If we get back together tonight I hope you will forgive me..."
After graduating high school
he joined the Air Force
academy. His love of planes is further evidenced by the collection of plans for model aircraft
found amogst his possessions. However he flunked out of the academy because he "couldn't land the planes". After this crushing failure he joined the Army
, and served during the Korean War
. There was a collection of letters written to his mother in the pile. I hope to obtain copies and perhaps node ones of particular interest. Soon after his enlistment he married my grandmother
, pictures of him with my grandmother, looking so young, my mother (their first child) in their arms, looking so proud, so young, so athletic
. A proud
life, the end wasn't fitting to such a man. I just wish I could have said goodbye
Leland "Gramps" Perrott 1938-2000