Lately I’ve been going back in my mind, mostly to childhood memories. It’s necessary for the next project I’m working on. I’ve had my grandfather (on my father’s side), my poppy, on my mind a lot. He was someone I was close to as a child, and he passed away when I was 9 years old. Many moons ago, now. In my eyes, he was a great man. He served in the military, was a part of the Korean War, and had a heart of the purest gold you could find on this luscious green Earth.
My father and his sister, my aunt, might not think of him or my grandmother, in the same light as I had. What I experienced was the smell of Italian red sauce being cooked as you walked through the door. The smell of pine enhancing as you neared the Christmas tree surrounded by presents. Laughter after being poked on my shoulder, opposite side of where my poppy sat, knowing it was him but letting him think otherwise. A slight break of my heart as I realized my name wasn’t on any of the tags attached to presents bearing names of all the grandchildren. Awkward anxiety of having to go out and into the hallway to meet Santa for my present, and more heartbreak when he wouldn’t show. Excitement and absent-mindedness of Santa failing to come around, after coming back through their door to a perfect gift Santa just so happened to leave, before rushing out in a hurry.
“You see Vera, he has a lot of presents to drop off, and didn’t have time to say hello, but he left you this pretty pink and white bicycle.”
My grandfather died of a heart attack while in his car, sitting in a parking lot with his wallet out and opened to photographs of his grandchildren. Not too long after he died I remember being outside, around the block from where I lived, and I watched as a man got into his car. I watched in disbelief, hope, heartbreak and a bit of fear as a man who looked exactly like my poppy, same hat and all, got into his car. I ran back up to my parents as fast as I could. “I just saw poppy! He got into a car by Levi’s. It was him. It looked just like him, and he even has the same hat as poppy. He smiled at me.” Tears started streaming out my eyes before my mom explained that our minds can sometimes play tricks on us like this, and it wasn’t really poppy.
Since having my grandfather on my mind, I decided to show my boyfriend the ashtray I have that was his from when he was stationed in India, during the Korean War. I used to use this ashtray for my butts and whatnot many years ago (so there is some residue left on it), before finally deciding to wrap it up nicely and put it away. From apartment to apartment, I’ve had it tucked away under kitchen sinks, and in closets for years.
After taking it out a few days ago, I became inquisitive of its existence; did he make it himself, was he creative/talented/artsy? If he made it himself, when? In his free time? What did he do while stationed in India?
The ashtray is not a style I’d usually go for other than bearing the color green, which is a favorite of mine. The pattern is cool but it’s also gold (which now has a deep orange showing through), which is something that normally turns me off. This particular ashtray is something I’ve always liked, however — the uniqueness of it, and of course, the fact it has history and was once my grandfathers. And even better, it’s possible, however not so probable, he made it.
My grandfather’s signature is on the bottom of it, which my aunt confirms IS indeed his signature. A copyright symbol is also carved right next to his name, and on the opposite side, reads USA 636. Wait, what? Say that again. 636! Like my book, 636: A Path to Higher Consciousness. Such an awesome coincidence in my mind! A coincidence I didn’t take notice of, honestly. My mother pointed it out once I sent her and my father the photo’s of the ashtray, questioning the signature, and all about it. These types of things sometimes go right over my head. Nevertheless, it’s pretty awesome to have stumbled upon, and it definitely gives me some kind of feel.
The ashtray dates back to, I would assume, sometime between 1950-1953.
Photo’s of the ashtray: