My grandfather was a funny man and a really good sport. I was the first grandchild and was apparently unable to say "Granddad." I called my grandfather "Granny." I never thought about how unusual that was until I was an adult. We must have gotten some strange looks when we were out and I would call his name but Granny never acted embarrassed or asked me to call him anything else.
(Here he is with his younger sisters, Agnes and Helen. He didn't have a facial deformity - my photo is damaged!)
Granny was a dentist. His father was a dentist also. Growing up, we would stop by his office and, if he wasn't busy, he would always pop us up into the chair just to have a look at our teeth. He would always say, "Let me know if this hurts." Sometimes it did hurt. I'd wave my arms at him and make faces and gag and grunt but he would never stop what he was doing. Never.
Afterwards, I would say indignantly, "You told me to tell you if it hurt. I did! And you didn't stop!"
He would grin and reply, "Really? It didn't hurt me at all."
He had a big metal cabinet with a drawer full of goodies - little plastic toys and rings and jewelry - and I was always allowed to go get something from the drawer. I loved that!
He never stopped learning new things and he never thought there was anything he couldn't do!
He learned hypnosis and practiced on my mother. He built a swimming pool in his back yard. He built an airplane. He did needlepoint and hooked rugs and made ceramics - he said it helped him with his hand-eye coordination. Granny was very talented.
Here he is with my mother, during the war - some time in 1942 or 43?
With my grandmother at a nightclub in Miami.
Granny loved to tell jokes. He wore funny hats.
He was a small man - very short but he had a larger than life personality. I adored him. And I believe that he adored me too. I always felt very loved by him.
Whenever he ate out in a restaurant, he would pull a huge pile of change out of his pockets and place it on the table. That was the server's tip. If the service was good, the money would stay there and be left on the table. However, if he had to wait for someone to take his order...he would scrape a bit of money off of the table and put it back in his pocket. If his glass wasn't refilled promptly...he would scrape a bit more off the table and place it back in his pocket. It was always quite the production! It sounds kind of rude, but really it wasn't. If the service was good, there was a great tip. If it wasn't, then the tip was dwindled away a little at a time - just like the service.
I wish my husband and children could have known Granny. I admired his work ethic and his ability to learn new things and take on projects. I loved his sense of humor. I loved to listen to him tell jokes, even though I didn't even understand most of them! I wish I could remember jokes the way he did. I usually forget the punch line or some other crucial part of the joke. I think my son has inherited this ability though. Is that even something that can be inherited?
He was known as Will, Bubba, Daddy, Granny, and Dr. Will.
William Francis Parramore, Jr.