Thursday, 20 April 2017

Grandpa - Talk to Me

I would like to have a conversation with my Grandfather.

But first, let me tell you a little bit about him.

He was a most gentle man. It is impossible to imagine him as a soldier fighting in the first world war, as a signalman and a member of his beloved 28th Battalion.

He was a highly read man. A vast array of books covering diverse subjects, mainly nonfiction sat on his book shelves.

He was a school teacher who became an engineer and co-owner of a successful enterprise.

He was a most loyal family man, not only to his immediate family but extending to his sisters and his nieces.

He was a communicator, articulate and thoughtful but also an efficient user of the language.

He was an author of two books, including the history of the 28th battalion which was re-published in the early 21st century.

He had a sense of humour and could be delightfully self deprecating.

He was a devoted worker for legacy and tendered the individual memorials in Perth’s King Park of his fallen battalion comrades.

He raised funds to build a wing of the South Perth Hospital.

He married my Grandmother, a devout Catholic at a time when marriages of mixed religions were frowned upon.

He spoke fluent French courtesy of his Swiss Mother and his upbringing included time living in New York as a teenager circa 1912.

He joined the Australian Imperial Forces, lying about his age and when his intellect was identified during basic training he was offered Officer training. He refused, as the delay he believed meant the war would have passed and he would have missed out.

My memory of him was always one of a man who walked tall and proud, who looked you in the eye and spoke with the authority of carefully considered facts underpinning his opinion. He was highly intelligent and possessed a broad range of interests.

I would very much like to have a conversation with him now.

I would like to hear his view of world affairs, the so called threat posed by terrorists, the real impact of Brexit, the soon to be French and German elections and the rise of Donald Trump and all that means.

I would like the benefit of his calm considered and above all, experienced opinion which would be delivered based on fact based assumptions and with an understanding of people and their motives.

I would value his political take on what is going on in the world and why.

I would love one more conversation with Grandpa

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