Of all the Christmas presents I got last month, the best by far and away was my son Ethan's announcement of an upcoming grandchild, the first. (I couldn't blog about this before because Sarah didn't want the news to go out before she could tell her co-workers; this has since happened.)
The nominal purpose for gathering us all together at a Salt Lake City eatery was a late birthday celebration for Ethan. He cleverly used it for the announcement and, better yet, had the iPhone camcorder running. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree after all.
In the video, Cari points at Sarah and accuses, "You lied to me!" This refers to a Face Time videoteleconferencing conversation we had with her a week or so earlier. She reported that Buddy, her dog, was following her around ceaselessly. "Are you pregnant?" my wife quickly asked. "No," Sarah replied. Gotcha! The baby is due in early June, around the 5th.
Sarah asked me, "Do you want a boy or a girl?" "A boy," I quickly replied, but added, "...but either is fine." As things stand right now, Ethan is the last biological Clark. Given the countless hours of genealogical research I've done, I'd like the surname to persist in my family. But... daughters are fine, too. No pressure. After all, each new generation is genetically a product of half the father and half of the mother. It doesn't matter.
Me... a grandfather. As I suggest in the closing seconds of this video, it scarcely seems possible. We can't be that old. But we are! Like walking into a room and forgetting what you wanted, weight that won't come off, failing hearing, stumbling and groping for a familiar word or forgetting the names of people, it's yet another reminder that the years are now speeding by and we are aging.
Actually, the decades are now speeding by...
I once heard somebody say, "The worst thing about becoming a grandfather is that now you're married to a grandmother." Hmm. Well, this doesn't bug me as I've always found older women attractive.
I well remember when it was announced that I was to become a father to Ethan. I just stoically accepted it - restrained rejoicing, after my fashion - and reflected that life was about to become very different. So... what does a grandchild mean? For one thing, it has turned my wife into a knitting machine, and booties are in process. She bought a knit hat - a preposterous thing (which I'm assured is cute) designed to look like an acorn atop baby's head. For my part, I keep promising that I will be burying my kids with yard sale grandchild items. It's only fair! For years I have refrained from buying items for grandchildren I don't yet have (unlike the woman in my church whom I keep bumping into at yard sales who constantly shops for grand kids). Now the governor is off, whoo-hoo!
How does one behave around a grandchild? I have no role models as I never had grandparents. Well, yes, of course, I did - I mean that I never knew any of them. The last to go (Dad's mother) died when I was eight; thanks to the messed-up social structure of my family I never met her. Mom's father died when I was four; I never met him, either, for the same reason. Is this partially the reason why I compulsively do genealogical research? Possibly.
So. There it is. Upcoming grandfatherhood. I am assured by my grandfatherly peers that grand kids are heaps of fun; more fun than the kids were, actually. An added benefit is that when they act up or need changing you simply hand them back to your kids. I got the distinct impression that this was the case, observing my mother when my kids were little. She came alive when they started calling her "Gan'ma." In fact, I once saw my mother's face absolutely light up when my daughter Julie first referred to her in this fashion. So I expect this will be fun. Compensation for growing old, perhaps.
Expect much more blogging on this topic later this year. I will try to keep from becoming obnoxious about it, I promise. It's one of my resolutions.
I have blogged in the past about Burbank's very own nutjob inventor J. W. Fawkes and his weird, troubled, litigious relations with his brothers and parents. A couple of new Los Angeles Times articles from 1898 have come to light, dealing with a brother, Howard. Scroll down to July and December, 1898 in the link I supplied, if interested. I get a kick out of the reporter's words: "...the drear monotony of suburban life has been relieved, and the courts of the county have been prevented from stagnating by having the Fawkes cases to adjudicate." Ha ha!
My Burbank pal Mike, intrepid researcher wot he is, recently found a 1911 magazine article about J.W.'s claim to fame, his "Aerial Swallow." I reprint it here: Technical World Magazine Page one, Page two, Page three. These are uncommon photographs... they aren't in the holdings of the Burbank Historical Society that we're aware. Neat! Mike and I have now become, I think, the World Experts on All Things Fawkes. (Unless, of course, there are knowledgeable descendants running around somewhere. A directory search shows nobody surnamed Fawkes in Burbank. I wonder where they all got to?)
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