Its funny how a date can stick in your head. You hear the date and think of one thing. That is how February 2nd is for me. I don't think of Groundhogs Day, I think of birthdays.
February 2nd is the birthday of Brandi Wood (she was one year older than me and a cheerleader), Holly Peterson (she is a good friend, was my age and played volleyball with me), Brad Webb (he was a year younger than me and was Mr. Sportsman at our school, he works with my dad now), Kami Taylor (she was a great friend from my hometown that played sports with me, drug main with me, and did crazy things like sneaking out of her window while I waited in my car down the street, and we toilet papered ALOT of people's yards), and it is my Grandpa Jay's birthday as well.
That seems like a busy birthday date considering my high school only had 200 kids attend it, and my hometown only had around 50 homes in it. I think I remembered everyone's birthday on that date, because it was my grandpa's birthday. He was born in 1924 in Torrey, Utah.
He was a Marine and served in World War II as a member of a 3-man Avenger torpedo bomber in the Pacific. I remember my grandpa as a rough man with rough manners. I remember going to my grandparents' home on many Sunday afternoons. They lived in another town about 20 miles away from my home. I mostly remember my grandpa sitting in the living room with my parents, uncle Scott, and grandma telling stories and cussing up a storm. He wasn't angry when he cussed, well, I guess he probably was but I never saw him angry. Cussing was just part of his language. Cuss words were just adjectives to him. He would tell a funny story and be cussing every third word while just laughing and laughing. My grandpa Jay was my mom's father, but he got along great with my dad. I wish I knew more of his military experiences. I only know what he told my dad and what my dad has remembered from those Sunday visits. My brother loves World War II history, and I think he has done some research on who, what, and where our grandpa was involved during the war. I need to chat with him.
He volunteered in the Marine Corps in December of 1941. He married my grandma in 1943. The silly picture above is of my grandma Bessie, whom I never met, and my grandpa Jay in San Diego at the Naval Base. My mother was born in 1953.
I remember him as an older man who had suffered from many small strokes that left him with a difficult time of getting around. In his younger years, he was a logger on Boulder Mountain and did that for 35 years. He loved Boulder Mountain and knew it better than anyone. He was a hard worker and my dad tells me he had biceps that were the biggest he had ever seen. He was also the Mayor of Torrey for 22 years where he did great things, especially with the water system. This picture below is the grandpa I remember. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 75.
I like to think of the man that I didn't know as well as remember the one I did know. When we went to visit, I was usually running around outside climbing a cherry tree in their yard, or looking for my cousin Amber to play with. What 10 year old wants to listen to 'adult talk?' As I got older and visited as a teenager, I unfortunately didn't stick around to chat either, and if I did, I talked with my Grandma Elaine.
I don't remember my Grandpa Jay ever talking directly to me, and I wish I could change that now. He was so boisterous and gruff in my perception and I was too scared to talk to him. I have cousins that grew up down the block from my grandparents, and they have different memories of our grandpa because they got to see the other side of him that was hidden from me. I am envious of them. I do remember one time sitting in the living room and I don't remember the subject being discussed, but my grandpa got teary eyed and he got a little choked up about something, so I know he was a man of deep feelings, I just never got to see them.
I am so proud to say my grandpa served his county and did his part during World War II. What a fine legacy and example he leaves for us now, I just wish I knew more about his military experiences, and him as a man, as my mom's dad.