Back in Rochester for my grandfather’s funeral. My grandfather played the role of crusty old sailor with a grouchy attitude. I heard one of my other relatives say “you know, we saw his grouchy side, but…” and I thought that’s not right. He wasn’t a grouch, he was playing the grouch. Big difference. My cousins all moved away, so my brother and I were the closest to him. He made jokes, but there was never a moment where I thought the things he said was what he thought or felt.
He loved the water and had a house (he built) on a massive pond near Lake Ontario, and he loved the house. He’d sit in the kitchen and look past the big willow tree to the pond (where the boat used to be).
After he was long retired, not getting around, and they had to pay enormous taxes on waterfront property, they sold the boat. The taxes were so high that three years ago, they had to move. He buried his head in the sand and my grandmother picked their new house. It’s sad they had to leave the house, but I heard quite possibly the sweetest thing ever about their move today.
At the funeral, some people on my grandfather side of the family (my grandmother married him in 1983, I was five, so he was MY grandfather even though it was by marraige) made comments implying my grandmother was behind the move and he didn’t want to leave the house but she forced him.
My aunt pulled the lead female of their side of the family to a corner and said “Let me tell you how they ended up in the house. Neither of them wanted to move, but they couldn’t afford to stay. He refused to look at any other house because he was heartbroken to leave. They picked the house because…” and the woman said “because (my grandmother) liked that the shed looked like a dollhouse, we know.”
And my aunt said: “No. She hates that house. She picked that house because it had a bay window in the kitchen, where he always sat. And the dollhouse shed and white picket fence, the flowers and trees was something nice to look at. Every other house they could afford had bad kitchen windows, in the wrong place, and nothing unappealing outside.
All she cared about while picking the house was the kitchen view, because she knew that in his condition, he going to spend the rest of his life at that kitchen table, looking out the window and she wanted him to have something nice to look at.”