Since I shared the books of my childhood that meant the most to me I thought I'd share this picture this week. That's Pop-pop reading to me when I was about 3. Yesterday I touched on how my parents encouraged a love of reading. My grandparents did too in their own way. truth be told Pop-pop was the most avid reader of my 4 grandparents. The irony is that he is the only one who did not complete high school. He was driven from school to work during the Depression. He carried a tremendous shame over that for the rest of his life. He shouldn't have.
First of all he was one of the hardest working men I knew, but not at the cost of people. He wasn't a workaholic, just formed in the mold of a typical Pennsylvania German who felt idleness was an evil and that you should earn your pay with your most honorable effort. Additionally, he is among the smartest men I ever knew. He could fix anything. He could grow anything. He was a fine cook. He could sew by machine or do hand needlework to rival any woman's.
All those are noble traits but as I mentioned he was an avid reader. I don't know if it began as a way to compensate for his lack of formal education or if he always loved books, but by the time I came along I knew he just plain liked books. He was a great fan of James Michener because of his time spent in the South Pacific. He felt Michener captured that part of the world well in his writing and so he devoured the author's other books. he enjoyed the travels vicariously. If he didn't know how to do something he'd pick up a book and teach himself.
He also had the most impish love of wordplay. He'd wrap his mouth around the most incredible tongue twisters in 3 different languages, mind you, and rattle them off effortlessly. He enjoyed limericks and Ogden Nash/Dorothy Parker type quips and poems. He LIVED for a good pun or riddle. Of my four grandparents he was the most likely to read a story to my brother and me if we asked.
So if any of you rather enjoy some of my silly ways with a meme or think every now and then I turn a phrase particularly well, you owe some thanks to Pop-pop, just as I do.