Some time ago I saw a picture of a bench overlooking a pond, with a question beneath it. "If you could spend an hour here, talking with anyone at all, who would it be?" What a difficult question to answer! I put much thought into it, mulling it over, going through so many faces and personalities in history and life.
Would it be Jesus, who could inform me of what He plans for me? Could I choose Helen Keller whom I've always admired for her determination and spirit? Would it be one of my ancestors who could fill in the blanks for me and tell me about their lives? What a difficult choice to make!
Finally I decided that I would choose my Mother's father. When I could pick anyone at all, why would he be my choice, you might ask. Because I know so little about him. I have my mother's stories, I have a few remembrances from my aunt, but since he passed away when I was less than two years old, I have no remembrance of him.
Grandpa Loper was a small man, about 5 ft 5 in. I know he was thin and slight, because I own one of the jackets that were a part of his Coast Guard uniform. It's surprisingly small! I have many documents of his time in the service, rescuing those from the perilous seas. I see there his height, weight, eye color and when and where he was stationed during his long time of service.
I have read the account of the 'last whale taken off Amagansett' in February, 1907. My grandfather was in one of the boats on that day. He was a very young man at that time. I would like to know what his thoughts were as he took part in that adventure with some of his family members.
From the stories I have heard, he had a quick wit and a keen sense of humor. "He wasn't around much because he was stationed in different places" I have been told. That would have left my Grandmother to raise her 4 girls alone, for the most part. However, the girls knew their father, and loved him enough to have fond memories of their time with him. I only wish that I did.
I feel that not knowing my maternal grandfather, my life is a rather incomplete picture. If I could spend just one hour with him, I would ask him one question. That would be this, "Grandpa, please tell me everything about yourself, your family, your life, until our time runs out?" And I would not speak....I'd only listen.