Today would have been my grandfather's 119th birthday. He was born in Bennington, New Hampshire on October 27th, 1893 to Andrew and Margaret (Cashion) Cleary. He lived in Norfolk, Virginia with relatives for eight years, but most of his life was spent in Florence, Massachusetts where he was employed by the International Silver Company. He married my grandmother Mary Hannah Clark in April 1917. They lived in Bay State Village for a while and then moved to Middle Street.
I remember him as a laid back man, who told some fine stories about his childhood in New Hampshire. His most famous tale was about a very large rabbit he hunted down on a winter day. According to the yarn, this rabbit was so big that when he slung it over his shoulder to walk home, the rabbit's paws were dragging on the ground. (Yikes!)
Grampa smoked a pipe. He liked to read newspapers and talk about politics. He also liked Teaberry gum and a cup of tea after dinner. He wrote a poem about a fallen soldier that was published in Readers Digest. His aspiration was to write song lyrics. He had a beautiful flower garden at his last home in Palmer, Massachusetts. On October 27th, 1964, after doing some yard work, he went into the house for lunch and a nap. He died in his bed that afternoon. It was his 71st birthday. He left the world on the same date, he came into the world.
I will always remember him telling me to dance a this funeral. I didn't. It would have caused a rift, but I have tried to make it up to him by dancing on each of his birthdays. Time for some Bon Jovi and U2. Happy birthday Grampa!