Friday, October 14, 2011

Funeral Card Friday -The First Time I Experienced Death


Malcolm Leroy Smith
1898-1953
 I was a little girl when my grandfather, Malcolm Leroy Smith, died of a heart attack on August 17, 1953.  The only thing I remember about that day is my father coming home early from work.  I sat beside him on the couch and noticed his face was red.  He had been crying, but he didn't let me see that.  I was only upset because I knew he was.

 I didn't know or understand what death was; I was just turning nine.  It was the first time that I had experienced that word. Anything other than that it was an uneventful day.  I never heard or saw anything else related to my grandfather's passing.  I just went about my business of playing and being a child.

There are only a few things about my grandfather that I remember.  In my mind's eye I see him standing on the front porch with his cap on.  I remember the story of his dog, Brownie, who was hit by a car and my grandfather had to shoot him to put him out of his misery.  I remember sleeping over at my grandparents home.  I would sleep on the couch in the living room.  My grandparents would sit in the dark, smoking their non-filtered camels, until I fell asleep.  I can still see it today, not them, but the red tip of their cigarettes dancing about in the dark. 

A few days before my grandfather's death, the company my father worked for, the Geo. O. Jenkins Co., held their annual outing for their employee's.  It eventually became a family event and I too would attend.  There was barbecued chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon.  A band would play and I would dance the polka with my dad.  And games, lots of games and door prizes.  But this outing in 1953 when I was nine was only for employees.  My dad caught the greased pig. My mom won the women's 50 yard dash and the cracker eating contest.  My mom and dad won the egg passing contest.  My Aunt Bertha and Uncle Tony were there too, Tony worked with my dad.  They won the needle and thread race.


So what does an outing have to do with my grandfather's death?   On this day, August 20, 1953 not only this story about the outing appeared, but also my grandfathers obituary, both on the same page. Read more about my grandfather:  Heartbreaking Misfortunes


Only one error in this notice, his father's name was Joseph, not James.

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