Esoteric Information about my Grandparents

I have seven grandparents. This is an odd number.

My dad's step-father, who was the only grandfather I knew, called me Pancake. I did indeed love pancakes, and asked for this breakfast exotica each visit, but also he was born in the late 19th-century and by the time I was a kid in the mid-1970s, likely had trouble remembering my name. I followed him around and jumped on him so much, trying to wrestle or rough house, my mother took me aside and explained that he was too old for that sort of thing, that I had to stop. His name was Ellis. I can hear now how my grandmother would say his name, especially if she were calling him, so long and drawn out and soft on that first syllable, holding that l-sound out in the world impossibly long, followed by the short hiss of the last consonant.

I'd follow Ellis on his errands, inspecting the water trough or the salt licks or the electric fence, shadowing him around the pasture as he ambled up the slope with his walking stick, eye-ing the bull warily. Once I asked him what that bull was doing on top of the cow's back and he said they were fighting. Later, as my Mom argued with her boyfriend--the restaurant owner my sister not affectionately nicknamed Steakface--as we drove home in his Cadillac--I leaned up over the red leather seat and said they were acting like the bull on the back of that cow in the field. My mother slapped me hard across the mouth before I put my excited exclamation mark on my clever pronouncement.

Nana, my mom's mother, was a fan of mid-Atlantic Wrestling. She canceled Thanksgiving one year to attend Starcade at the Greensboro Coliseum. She loved Wahoo McDaniel and Ricky Steamboat and despised that strutting Ric Flair.

My bio-father's parents, I know very little about, but the good people at the Charlotte Public Library scanned in and uploaded this book about the 38th Evac Hospital unit that served in WWII. A few years ago I found it and downloaded it, then later my wife found an original on eBay and gave it to me. It contains the bulk of my knowledge about my paternal grandfather, and was the first photo I'd seen of him. I was surprised at how much we look alike. If your grandparent has an association with that unit, I'd love to hear from you.

My seven grandparents names are: Ellis, Hazel, Harriet, Sallie, Wallace, John, George. In an unbelievable coincidence, each of their surnames was Ball.

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