“Who’s that guy?” My five year old son points at a photograph on the wall.
It’s a photograph of my grandfather is in his army uniform, leaning against a tank and smoking a cigarette. I love the photo because it looks nothing like the man I remember.
The photo reminds me that before he wore white slip-on shoes and spent his days with me at the park, my grandfather had another life. He faced adventure, tragedy, failure and success, a life far different but also very similar to my own. The photo reminds me of a man I loved very much but also never really knew. It’s hard for me to imagine Grandpa in his Sansabelt slacks traipsing across the battlefields of Europe. The same man who took me to Disneyland every summer but also danced with pretty girls at a USO.
I will always love him but he has been gone for twenty years. The photo reminds me to miss him.
“Mommy, who is it? Tell me!”
“That is your great grandfather sweetie, his name was Chaim and you have his eyes.”