sartorias and lori have been posting about great- (and great-great-) grandparents in their journals, which got me to thinking about the fact that I did have a chance to know one of my great-grandparents, my mothers grandfather, when I was little.

He came over here from Russia ahead of his family, early in the 20th century. He had a twin brother, and the two of them went to some efforts to avoid serving on the military there–I believe one of them punctured his eardrum as part of this, but the details, as so often happen, are unclear. His wife, and my grandmother, and her older sister followed a few years later.

I remember Papa mostly at my grandmother’s beach house, sitting by the picture window, working on countless jigsaw puzzles. I sat by his side asking him questions and doing those puzzles with him a few times, but it was my sister, who was still a toddler at the time, who really bonded with him; I remember the two of them, nine decades between them, going for walks on the beach together, Papa holding her hand.

I remember him moving slowly, and being perhaps a little hard of hearing (maybe it was his eardrum that was punctured), but never frail, never ill, and always mentally sharp. He took turns living with his two daughters, and died in my grandmother’s arms when he was 94.

Three decades or more later, when I think of that picture window, sometimes I still think of Papa, sitting there, doing his puzzles.

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