There was a man in my life whom I loved very much. He was an incredible man. He was a paint chemist for Marietta Paint & Color Company in the 40’s, a shrimper in Southwest Florida in the 50’s and 60’s, a handyman for a marina in the 70’s, and the most awesome babysitter on the planet in the ’80s.
He was my grandfather – Arthur Edward Nelson. He was born in Ohio on October the 8th – 1906. He and my grandmother were married for 55 years – tying the knot secretly in Virginia on December the 3rd, 1930. Grandma passed away in 1985.
Cute were they not?
That’s Papa and my mom, on his favorite boat.
I was around two when this was taken I think.
I was about 8 or 9 here – both Grandma and Papa – and my Aunt Genie.
This one was taken in Maryland when my oldest was about two years old. She was meeting my cousin’s daughter for the first time. Papa had both great grand daughters together!
Grandpa’s life was not easy. He grew up in Ohio at the turn of the century. His father died when he was young and he quit school in the sixth grade in order to work and help his mother with his younger sister. He taught himself through reading to be a paint chemist and he went to work for Marietta Paint and Color Company in the 30’s. That’s where he met my grandmother. Because they worked together, they were not allowed to date. But they did anyway, and when they decided to marry they slipped off to Virginia and did it on the sly. Grandma’s sister Mary and her fiance went with them and got married the same day – December the 3rd, 1930. Together they experienced the explosion of the paint company, and told a story about watching paint cans fly high into the air and explode, like fireworks. Grandpa said it was both scary and exciting at the same time.
They eventually moved to Florida and Grandpa started his career as a shrimp boat captain. They had my mom in 1948. Eventually we all moved to Tennessee, then back again to Florida. When my oldest daughter was born, my grandmother was sick with cancer. She passed away when Kyla was only a year old. I think that my daughter was a huge reason Papa lived another five years afterward.
They were always together, he taught her how to talk by 9 months, walk at 10, say the alphabet at 13 and by 19 months she could count to 20. He read to her all the time and helped instill in her a love of books and learning that lives on to this day. When my son was born, even though he didn’t spend as much time with him – because we lived away from him then, he still read to my son at every opportunity. He talked to him like another person, not like a baby, and my son was enthralled with him. Unfortunately, my youngest never got to meet her Papa, he passed away when I was just four months pregnant with her.
I miss him a lot, but I’m grateful for the time I did have with him, and that he was such a huge part of at least two of my kids lives.
Happy Birthday Grandpa! I love and miss you and hope to see you and grandma again one day soon!