Searching for My Grandfather in the Pages of His College Textbook

so... this is my life now

When my father’s father died a year ago, even though he was my first grandparent to pass, I wasn’t emotional. His was a slow slipping: first his professorial mind decayed, jumbling his memories and mixing the files in which he stored Shakespeare and Tennyson, then his body, which he refused to care for because he was too proud to admit he needed help. In his final years, I think we were all hoping he would let go soon, and find peace.

Everyone expected me to have a close relationship with him. He was an English professor, and I was the only grandchild who inherited his literary gene.  But we were on different sides of the world, growing old and older on opposing paths: when he tried to engage me in discussions on Dickens and The Great Writers, I was still reading fantasy chapter books from the kids section; when I…

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