Dad loved to tell the story of his college GPA. He got drafted in WWII, and left school without withdrawing from his classes. This resulted in a semester of E's (which I assume were like F's.) He came home from the war anxious to go to Optometry School, but in order to have the GPA to apply, he had to get perfect grades for two years. He did.
(This story was supposed to demonstrate that I, too, could get perfect grades. I didn't.)
Here's Jiggs with his brothers. The oldest one died when he was 18. Dad was 16, but he talked about Alan for the rest of his life. Although Dad was self assured and confident in most situations, sickness, hospitals, funerals and visiting cemeteries caused panic for him. I think it was because of this early, heartbreaking experience with death.
This is Jiggs at ten. He was one of those guys who walked fifteen miles to school, barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, so some of his stories had a touch of exaggeration to them. (A trait I am happy to have inherited.) His family was poor, and he said he worked from the time he was three. I guess people weren't too picky about age requirements then. Anyway, by the time he was eight years old, he had a regular job at the Country Club, carrying the rich men's golf clubs. He learned to golf as a caddy, and he loved the game. Our houses always had a putting green in the backyard, planted with special grass. His dream was to build a golf course. And he did!
Dad is the one with sunglasses, standing with Arnold Palmer (in the red sweater,) who designed the golf course, and then came back to hit the first ball off the first tee, on the first day the course opened. (Dee is the cute black haired boy on the right.)Nine years ago today we celebrated Dad's last birthday as a family in his hospital room. We had guitars and sat around singing all his favorite songs. That might have been the last day he was happy. He found out he had cancer the next day, and died not quite three months later.
Jiggs was the eternal optimist. He loved to work, and he loved to play. He was a fun guy, who played Glenn Miller tunes on the piano, and sang all the old songs with a beautiful baritone voice. He was a dedicated son, a doting husband, and a devoted dad. He plucked chickens for pennies as a boy, but owned a tennis club, a golf course and a basketball team as a man. He taught by example that dreams can come true. I'm thinking of you today, Dad!