From the August 2002 magazine.

A Chip Off the Old Block

A grandfather's legacy

I remember visiting my grandfather in the early 1960s, when I was a boy of eight or nine years old, and playing with some colored chips that had no meaning for me at the time. Only many years later would I realize their significance. During the summer months when I was on school vacation, my grandfather, who was a painting contractor, would occasionally take me on some of the jobs. One of the men of my grandfather's crew I always remembered was Norman.

My grandfather died in 1965, and my whole world began to change. I had lost the most important man in my life. My behavior had always been less than desirable, but after Gramp died it became worse. I entered junior high school, and my frequent outbursts of anger resulted in many suspensions for the next two years. I calmed down somewhat in high school, and my involvement in sports kept me away from the "bad element" who were drinking at school dances and getting into fights. In 1972, I turned eighteen, the legal drinking age, and I was off and running.

-- Ronald G.

Gorham, Maine

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