Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The last of a generation

This past weekend my grandmother, Julia Dunn, passed away. She was 91 years old and was living with her daughter Nancy when she died. She was the last of my four grandparents alive and it's very sad to think that for me, this is the end of an entire generation of knowledge and experiences.

This is a shot of my grandmother and grandfather, Tyler Dunn, outside their house in Hamlet, NC. Most people don't know where Hamlet is, but it's close to the old Rockingham Motor Speedway. Hamlet was a big railroad town decades ago, before such towns withered away, losing to trucking and passenger cars.

I enjoyed the differences of a small town. On a visit as a young boy, I walked downtown and stopped in a store to buy some candy. The store owner looked at me and said "You must be Tyler and Julia's boy. I heard you were coming to visit." That wouldn't happen in the Baltimore/DC area where I grew up.

My grandfather died years ago, but it was amazing he lived as long as he did with a three pack-a-day smoking habit. After many decades of smoking, he quit cold turkey. It wasn't a consideration of his lungs, which were as torn up and clogged as the ones you see in the "stop smoking" ads. They told him that if he kept smoking around the oxygen tanks he needed for breathing, he would burn the house down. All it took was the right motivation and he simply quit, right then.

It's sad to think about my four grandparents all having died, but they were all wonderful people and if there is a heaven, I know they are all safe and sound there.

It's also a reminder that when you get up around 50, it means your parents would be getting old and you grandparents would be quite so.
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