Sunday, September 21, 2008

Google this, b*tch

Google your name and see what comes up. Just do it.

Fortunately, the first thing that comes up for me is my linkedin profile, nothing bad there and says a lot about my work ethic. Next is my facebook page which, fortunately, requires a password to view. Beyond that, the only time I pop up us in guest letters or mentions in obits. Most prominently regarding my grandad John, an amazing man that left behind an incredible footprint in Alaskan history and perhaps history in general.

The youngest of six, he grew up with a bunch of teenage ladies running the show, and yet, when I met the man, no one would dare move unless it was okay by JPB. When I was little I remember being terrified by my grandad- he was never soft or cuddly and he had a lot of big, dead animals lying around the house. Like Polar Bears. Skinned. In the Living Room.

But, as I got older, he got a a bit softer and more approachable. I wasn't around enough to ever really get to know him but I'm still fascinated and impressed by his life and his work. He devoted his retirement to historicizing the pioneers of Alaska (my family included) as well as devoting his time to identifying the owners of over 3000 unmarked graves in the Anchorage cemetery, earning him his own gate complete with a bronze statue. From what I gather, it's bad luck to pass my grandads little face and not touch his nose which is why it will forever be shining.

I remember at a family reunion not being able to get to him because there was a line of 50 people trying to talk to him (literally). And I remember his laugh -one of those laughs that "fill up the room." But what I remember most is his sense of humor during his final days. I was lucky enough to have been there before he left and I remember one of the last things he ever said. Racked with cancer, all he wanted to do was go home. My cousin L & I were in the elevator with him during a very personal conversation with the EMT's about his bowels and afterwards he pulled us close and said "Let me tell you a secret..." We got quiet and waited for some sort of deep guidance or family story, but what we got were these never truer words:

"Don't ever get old, it sucks."

God Bless, and Happy Birthday to me!!


Akiotena: said...

Happy birthday! Mine was Wednesday. Go September. :)

I had dinner with Grandma on Saturday (for celebrating said birthday). She told me it would have been their 61st or 62nd wedding anniversary this year (she wasn't too clear on which, and it was freaking *loud* in the restaurant).

It's still hard to believe he's been dead for three years. :/ I imagine Grandma misses him a lot. I do, too.

Scott Fassett said...

Wow. Wise words. And I had no idea you were an Eskimo.