I was thinking about my Granpa today and thought everyone should hear about him because he was awesome.
Awesome thing Number One: His name was Buster.
Awesome thing Number Two: He was 5'3" and my grandma was 5'9" (6' with the heels she always wore).
Awesome thing Number Three: He was in a street gang in the late 1920s in Portland. Their name? The Albina Toughs (they lived on Albina Street). Their activities? Singing on street corners.
Awesome thing Number Four: He was a lifelong fisherman and had a fish rival, a huge bass in the Willamette he called "Washtub Charlie" and almost caught a few times, but never reeled all the way in. This story was written up in the Oregonian as one of Portland's old timey treasures.
When he was a baby, his mother got sick and couldn't take care of her children. They didn't think she would make it, so his older brothers were sent to a boys home and he was given to a neighbor family that didn't have any children. They agreed to take him under the condition that he never be told he wasn't their biological son. He grew up playing with his brothers, but not knowing who they were. When he was in his twenties, an elderly lady he was driving home asked him how his brothers were - and when he responded that he was an only child, she said "Oh, you never found out?" She took him to meet his mother (from whom I derive my red hair), sister, and brothers that night.
He lived for 90 years in the Portland-metro area and had tons of pictures of the city through most of the 20th century. He had stories of everything from seeing silent movies downtown to hunting in Central Oregon to being in the Coast Guard during WWII (he was too short to be let in any other branch). He was pretty much fantastic and I'm kind of sad my kids won't be able to hear the story we heard every Christmas about the big Italian family that took him in for dinner one night during the war. Their table was so long, they threw the loaf bread down it like a football instead of passing it from hand to hand apparently.
I know this was long, but I love these stories, thanks for reminiscing with me!