The following is something I wrote and read at my Grandpa's memorial service earlier today.
As an adult, and even as a teenager, I loved and appreciated my Grandpa’s dry sense of humor. As a child, however, it was just over my head and so my first impression of him was that he was kind of intimidating. He was taller than anyone else I knew, he didn’t smile very much, and told jokes I didn’t understand. As I grew older, I began to see that he was hardly ever serious and that deep down, he was a softie.
I remembered this first impression, however, when he was scheduled to talk to my sister and my’s high school history class. I warned all my friends ahead of time that my Grandpa was coming to talk to the class, and they would probably think he was scary, but he’s not. Well, not too scary.
Elizabeth accidently gave him the wrong time to show up and he ended up needing to come to the school twice, so there was a lot of anticipation by the time the big day came around. He came to talk about his father’s experience in World War 1, and brought some photo albums and even a gas mask. All my friends were impressed and appreciated his visit, that wasn’t surprising. What was shocking was everyone telling me how cute and adorable my Grandpa was! “Cute” and “Adorable” were not necessarily the first words I was expecting to hear. At first I just thought they were trying to be nice, until one friend told me afterwards, “I just want to give him a hug!” “Really?” I responded. “Are we even talking about the same person?!”. Obviously we were, and it was just that all of them were able to see immediately what took me a little bit longer. Despite the fact that I can hardly remember anything he actually talked about in that class (aside from showing the gas mask) this is one of my favorite memories of my Grandpa.