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(33,610 posts)
12. My grandfather also got that "plate in his head." He was murdered in a bar fight years before I was born.
Sat Nov 11, 2023, 07:26 PM
Nov 2023

He was a terrible alcoholic and used to disappear for years at a time, come home briefly, get my grandmother pregnant (which is how I came to exist), beat up members of the family and then leave again.

He was in the British Black Watch; he joined in 1914, although he lived in Brooklyn.

The last time my father saw his father, he threw him down the stairs and told him never to set foot in the house again. He was trying to burn my grandmother's face with a hot iron.

The next time my father saw his father it was to identify his body when they pulled it from the East River.

The British Army did give him a magnificent funeral, and imported soil from Scotland to put in the grave in Brooklyn. It was the only time my father felt positive about his father.

All I ever heard of my grandfather was what a terrible person he was. I asked my aunt, a generally elegant woman, to tell me about him when she was 88 years old. We were in a restaurant and she started cursing like a sailor. My wife and I wanted to crawl under the table.

I never thought much about how he came to be who he was. My grandmother, the only person who ever loved him, used to say, "He was a nice man until he got that silver plate in his head."

A while back I saw the movie "1914" and finally I had some sympathy for what he'd become. (The movie, as rough as it was, probably ended up be sanitized.)

It was, after all a terrible war.

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