Parenting 2.0

Great Grandad T ~ A Memory

Posted on: December 30, 2009

You often hear of grandparents who tell their grand kids tonnes of stories from “back in the day”.  I can’t say that my grandad – Niko’s great grandad – did too much of that, but he did once tell me a story that I have never forgotten. I have even repeated this story many times over, to my students each year around Remembrance Day.  I usually ask my classes if they have any family war stories and a lot of them will share how their relatives faught in some war or another.  After they’ve shared their stories, I go into this story that my grandad once shared with me…

Back in the day my grandad’s brother Earl fought in WWII.  He made it through the whole war without a scratch on him: although he didn’t fare too well mentally after the war, considering he seemed to have post-traumatic stress disorder, physically he was A1. So anyway, Earl came back having survived the war, but he took to drinking a lot once he returned to Canada.  His family knew we was drinking, but chalked it up to a condition that had developed due to his experiences in the war, and thought it was just his way of dealing with it.

My grandfather’s father had a tannery out back where he used to tan leather (at least this is how I remember the story, but I am not 100% on that part of the detail), and my grandad would also help out in this business.  One day they were out back working in the tannery when they heard Earl yelling out from the outhouse! Yes, from the outhouse! Earl was saying something like this: “Help! Help me! I’ve been shot!”, and he just kept repeating this over and over again, screaming out for help the whole time. Now, seeing as Earl was a war survivor and had taken to the drink, my grandad and his father figured Earl’s behaviour on this particular day was some sort of craziness that had developed from the stress of the war. “Shot?”, they wondered. How could he have been shot while in the outhouse? Nonetheless, Earl continued with his carrying on until finally, my grandad went to see what all the fuss was about.  My grandad walked up to the outhouse and the conversation went something like this:

Grandad: Earl, what’s all the screaming about?! Are you OK?

Earl: No! I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot! Help me!

Grandad: What? Shot? What do you mean?

Earl: Just open the door; I need some help! I’ve been shot!

Now, seeing as Earl was so adamant, my grandad opened the door to the outhouse to see what was going on, and surprise, surprise Earl had been shot! Yes, he’d been shot right in the butt! Ha! Can you believe it? Well my grandad hardly could! Apparently some kids had been practicing with their BB Gun not too far away and must have miscalculated their aim, because a BB had gone right through a hole in the outhouse and shot Earl square in the behind! So, it turns out that Earl wasn’t screaming for help out of craziness, but rather he actually had been shot in the butt while sitting in the outhouse.  So, my grandad went on to say: his brother Earl survived all of WWII without a scratch on him, and it wasn’t until he came home that he suffered a bullet wound, and what a place to get one, shot right in the butt!

When I visited my grandad this summer in the nursing home where he lived, I asked him about this story, just to confirm some of the details.  Now, even though Grandad was suffering from dementia, he knew exactly what I was talking about and said something like this: “Oh yah! Earl, that’s right! After surviving all of WWII, Earl was shot right in the ass!  Shot right in the ass! That’s right! That’s right!”

Note: The picture above was taken in the summer of 2006, when our whole family – just the “kids and parents” – took a road trip to Halifax.

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2 Responses to "Great Grandad T ~ A Memory"

Hi Allison,

Loved the Cyril stories! Please drop me an email and I will forward some other stories.

Mike

So sorry to hear about your Grandpa. Hope you are doing okay. That is a pretty funny story.

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