Well after I posted that last post, my phone rang again. I answered, "Hello?"
"This is Grandpa."
Which was very cool that he was calling himself that already. Although I would have called him Rich if I'd been the one calling. He and I talked for another hour and a half. By the time the night was over, I was exhausted of the phone. I had asked several questions in my letter to him, and he seemed to have come up with most of the answers. He told me my grandmother's name, that I look like she did. She had red hair. She liked to go square dancing. She died of a blood clot after surgery (which Alice had told me also). He told me she was stubborn and bullheaded, which sounds just like me. He told me about his aunts and uncles, and how one of them had been walking one of the cows on the farm, and the cow spooked and dragged her to death. She was 13. His father was one of 9, which is a pretty big family to start with. Then my grandfather was one of five. He told me about his other son, Michael, and told me more about how he died. He was driving a '66 Chevy convertible, and fell asleep and hit a coal truck.
He told me a lot about my father. How he didn't like to be bossed around. He played ball real well, and could run like a jack-rabbit. He was a great mechanic. He broke his leg and arm when he was 11 months old in a car accident. He didn't like his stepmother, Mary. Mary had the same disorder that Katherine Hepburn had, so my father called her Shaky Jake. He tells me that my father dropped dead in the middle of the night. My grandfather called the paramedics, who were only able to resuscitate him for a few breaths. They performed an autopsy. He tells me my father had a pre-existing heart condition that caused cardiac failure.
Then he told me I am one of his 19 children. And he proceeds to list off a few more names that Alice didn't have. He tells me about some kids that were due a month apart from each other. Some that were born in separate states. My father REALLY got around. I am fascinated by this, but it's very strange. It's a strange confession that your father slept with anything that moved. It's a strange thing to talk to your 9 year old brother when you are 26 years old. And then to hear about your 36 year old brother, your 33 year old sister who's got kids of her own.
He tells me he was in the Air Corps, which is what it was called before they called it the Air Force. He flew B52s Or maybe he said B54s, I'm not sure now. He told me my father was in the Army, in the Signal Corps. I don't know what that means.
It was a LOT to take in. I'm probably going up to Columbus in another week or so to meet some of these family members. I'm at the same time completely overwhelmed and exhausted by all this information, and still fascinated and hungry for more. It's a lot to process.