Friday, September 30, 2011


I was probably 10ish before I realized that my grandfather's name was not really Popeye.
We all called him that. We all (all the cousins) referred to our grandparents as Grandma and Popeye, and we still do. This was simply what he was called from the beginning till even now...Popeye.
I was Popeye's favorite. The other cousins all think that they were, but I know I least that's the way he made me feel. Actually that's the way we all felt and how special is that??? Popeye had a way of making everyone feel special. If "Irish" had a look, it would look like my grandfather. His eyes shined with kind of a devilish gleam...and if you didn't see that, then he'd dance a jig for you. Or, he'd run into a wall (only with his foot) acting like he ran into it with his head, or he'd stand on his hands and walk around, or he'd play a fast tune with a set of spoons.
Popeye was an artist. He would draw, paint or cartoon, and he would listen to a song one time and then play it on the piano. Oooh to hear him play a ragtime on his old piano just one more time...
He and my grandmother raised a large Catholic family. Popeye had a regular job as a self employed carpenter, painter, wallpaper hanger. People loved his work and loved having him in their homes or business. Gosh...he entertained them... Once I was at a local funeral home and the owner told me how all the walls, (under that wallpaper) were covered with my grandfather's cartoons.
Back in the late 20's, a tornado destroyed their home...flattened it. They considered themselves lucky, because the garage was still standing. They all moved into that garage until Popeye could build them another home. Gotta remember here...this was also during the Depression. The home, the garage, their garden, everything is still standing today.
Life was very hard during those times, but there was no complaining...they just kept working and laughing and making do with the little things. They worked all the time. Popeye and Grandma did listen to a radio program on Saturday night and Popeye would smoke one cigarette after dinner.
The paint splattered bench (shown above with my plants) belonged to my grandfather. He made two of of the trade. He put his tools in them, stood on them to paint or wallpaper, and used them for sawing (see the marks)
I have one and my sister has the other. I've told my boys about this little piece of history, but sometimes I just don't think is sinks in. I sure hope it just isn't tossed when I'm gone.


Out on the prairie said...

What a charming share, I had a similar grandfather. I have a few of his hand tools.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your Popeye sounds like a great guy. I had an Irish uncle who was an extroverted life of the party type. Popeye made me think of him.

Treasure your little bench!

Rubye Jack said...

Isn't it great to have a bunch of cousins? Your grandfather sounds like a very special man!

Teresa Evangeline said...

Popeye sounds like a very cool man. How nice that you still have that bench, a wonderful piece of family history.