Ma says to Pa. “The holidays are coming. I think we should paper the living room. I think it would be nice.”
He agrees. “Come on kids, we are going to paper the ceiling. Ray, fetch two step ladders and a board; we will use that as a scaffold. Donnie, bring the two saw horses and two boards; we will use it to cut the paper and paste it. Grandma, you mix the paste. Iris, fetch the scissors and yard stick. Ma, you hand me paper and brush when grandma gets the paste on.”
Grandpa Herman was a “character” as Grandma so humorously portrayed. He worked hard, loved his family and had a fun disposition. One thing not mentioned was that Grandpa struggled with alcoholism. Many of the difficulties experienced in the family were due to this addiction. But, here is where we see the true character of this great man.
My father was Grandpa Herman’s oldest child and was the first child in the family to marry. Therefore, their first child was Grandpa Herman’s first grandchild; that would be me. The story has been told often of how when I was born, my father warned Grandpa that he would not be able to be around me if he did not do something about his alcoholism. Grandpa loved family more than he loved alcohol and so he made a decision to let himself be admitted to Manteno hospital in Chicago to “dry out” and get the needed help. Then he joined AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and stayed close to this group for the rest of his life.
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