His name, Olen, is also Hank's second middle name. John Henry Olen. The last few years, Granddad kept up his relationship with the kids by writing them letters. Laura would write to him, giving him news and photos, and reliably, a letter came right back. Granddad's letters to the children tended to be short and sweet, neatly typed in all-caps. When he heard that Hank had started preschool, we got this in the mail:
Master John Henry,
I have been keeping up with your family through your grandma. They tell me that you are going to school now. This is the time to shift gears from being a little boy to a school boy. Mind your teacher as you did your mother. Your parents are both highly educated, sweet, and kind people. You be likewise. You have a lot of ability. Use it.
Great Grandpas always give advice.
I love you. You are a part of me.
PS: The world is changing--go with it or get run over.
I love everything about this but that postscript just kills me. Especially when I think about how much his world changed in his 93 years. One thing about Granddad is that he was always current.
Master John Henry is staying here with my parents; I decided the 20 total hours of driving was too much for him. But the rest of us will gather together in the next few days and see Granddad buried in the family plot in the tiny town where he was born.
Here's to Granddad Olen and to 93 years for all of us.