[Editor's note: Jen Rose has been a familiar name around the Rabbit Room for just about as long as it's been in existence. Today I'm happy to see her here with her first post as one of our new contributors. Welcome, Jen. We're glad you're here.]
When my aunt passed away, I inherited a little black journal of my grandfather’s that she had kept. It’s just big enough to hold in one hand, the paper so soft and thin, and his light, somewhat cramped penciled handwriting is fading with the years. He died just months before I was born, and all my life I’d been told how much alike we were, so this little piece of him, traveling to me from across the decades, was a treasure indeed.
One day, I started to read it. Though I hoped for insight, outpourings of the depths of his soul, I got entries like this.
Fri February 7, 1947
Worked 8 hrs today, which went by very well.
Pay day. Fair all day.
These were the makings of life. There was the birth of dad’s eldest sister, years before he was a thought. There were fair and warm days working in a shipyard. There were days work went well and days it went slow. There were days of cultivating gardens and visiting family and, occasionally, missing the bus.
My grandfather was a simple man. He went to a Bible college in New York, wanted to be a preacher, somehow made his way from New England to Florida, and supported his growing family by working on ships and in orange groves. He never drove. His kids played marbles in the dirt road.