Wednesday, November 13, 2013

S is for...

is for Square

I remember one day in Spanish class we were given the assignment to make our family tree. I was excited and nervous. It gets complicated when I have to add all my siblings.
Yet I tackled the project with vigor. The overachiever that I am, I wanted to make sure it was neat and amazing.
When it was time for me to present my family tree to the class it went like this,
“These are my father’s parents Leticia and Square Padgett…”
“For your grandfather, use his real name.” My teacher suggested.
I looked at her confused.
“I did.”
“Your grandfather’s name is square?” She asked in disbelief.
I nodded.
“Yes, Square Padgett.”
The entire class looked at me funny. Some snickered and some thought it was cool, but it was true my grandfather name is Square.
My grandfather grew up in the South. He was born in 1918 which to me sounds crazy. 1918? Man, I can’t imagine seeing so many changes in the world.
My memories of my grandfather were of him given us money on our birthdays to buy a special treat. He loved to play the lottery, so my dad would play his numbers for him every day. He was the only grandparent I had that I could actually see on a daily basis.
My grandmother and he were divorced and she lived in Texas. I saw her maybe once a year. My mother’s father died when I was 8 years old and her mother lived in Rhode Island so we never saw her.
He was all I had as a grandparent and I loved him very much. When his health started to fail he moved then with my uncle and then eventually he ended up with us. My mom was a stay at home mom at the time so she was home and able to care for him.
Having him live with us was cool and depressing. I didn’t like to see him sick and unable to do things. Eventually dementia started to take over and my dad was forced by his siblings to put my grandfather in a nursing home.
I was 15 at the time and felt that he should stay with us. Visiting him at the nursing home was
torture. He would beg us to take him home.
He would cry.
First time I had ever seen a grown man cry.
I cried to.
My grandfather had 3 daughters and as his dementia got worse, he would see me and my 2 little sisters and call us Connie, Jan and Clarissa (my aunts names)
“No dad,” my dad would say.
“These are your granddaughters, Donnèe, April and Dana.”
When he passed away, I was the last to know. No one wanted to tell me. They know how emotional I am and they were afraid.
They were right to worried.
I cried for hours.
 I cried for weeks.
 I cried at the funeral.
 I cried for years.
I still cry sometimes when I think about him.
He was the only grandparent I knew.
I was traumatized and I blamed my aunts and uncle because when my grandfather died he was alone and unhappy. That bothered me for years. I wished that I was old enough at the time to say something.
I felt guilty.
I had regrets.
Later after his death, I would sit with my dad and go through pictures. My dad showed me tons of pictures of my grandfather and some carried information that I didn’t know. I discovered he was in WWII. No one told me this before. There were so many pictures of him stationed in Japan. It was amazing to see.
I remember when my parents packed up his belongings and brought them home from the nursing home. I wore his pajamas for 5 years after his passing. I wanted to be near him. He was an amazing person and I loved him very much.
S is for Square.
My grandfather.


  1. A beautiful and touching piece, Donnee. I can imagine the teacher calling you on your grandfather's name. Some folks have no sense.

    Sounds like he was a wonderful and important person in your life. Thank you for sharing about him. xoA

  2. Yes, I can see the teacher doing that. I once got sent home from school because the teacher said I was "obstinate." The issue was the spelling of my name (I was right, of course; the roll book was wrong).

    My grandparents died younger, the last when I was seven and she lived in Missouri. I did have two great-grandmothers that I actually knew better, one lived to 93 and the other nearly 101. Unfortunately, they were both gone by the time I was ten.