My aunt recently reached out and wanted me to write up some memories of my Grandfather for a memoir she is writing. I was happy to oblige.
What comes to mind when I think of Pope, my Grandfather, is the brevity, mystery and taciturn nature of my interactions with him. We never took a prolonged outing together. I never stayed overnight with him and my Grandmother for any length of time. I don’t ever recall a prolonged conversation with him. But he was around, in the audience (always standing and always quiet) for a few of my junior high football and basketball games, driving my sister and me in one of his Oldsmobiles to Burgerville for a clandestine, much beloved meal, visiting our home and always heading directly for the candy bar drawer, and the cars, oh the new and used cars he researched, inspected, and approved for my mother to purchase. They sometimes didn’t turn out too well, and the VW Dasher was the deluxe lemon of all time. I still smile when I see that make on the road and think of Pope’s lemon.
I have only one possession of Pope’s—a tiny round pencil sharpener emblazoned with the words American National Insurance on it, and that company’s bald eagle logo. That company was his lifelong employer. I still use the sharpener, when I have the rare occasion to use a pencil. I always associate anything written in pencil with Pope.