A Letter to My Paternal Grandfather

Dedicated to Joseph D. Batcheller

Dear Grandpa
That's what I would have called you.
I don't know if you remember me,
I only met you twice.
The first time, I was very little.
I had crawled over to Grandmother,
and she brushed me away.
My mother banished both of you from our home
And the next time I saw you I was eleven.

I knew you were a professor, and you looked exactly like one
With a bow tie and red suspenders.
I remember I really liked you, you were funny
and you seemed interested
to know more about me.
It was the only time I ever got to know you
Even if it was just a little bit.

Your students would call you "Batch"
And you loved Chuckles candy.
That was always my favorite too.
Even though you were really sick,
You taught until you died.
Your last words to your students were
"I'm dying, so you better turn in your homework assignments quickly."
I admired that about you, your passion for teaching.
Your students seemed to think not even death could stop you.
I was told you had a love for theater and the written word
We had a little bit in common.

When you died, I went to your memorial
With my Dad and sister.
I remember envying your students
As they recounted fond memories of you.
One student said to me,
"You must really miss him, he was so wonderful"
But I never really knew you.

I went to UNH
Because I thought you would like that.
I always made an effort to see plays and musicals
Because I thought you would want me to.
I would spend time in the theater,
And look at the pictures of your plays
And wished I had known you.

All I have of yours
Is a pile of old theater books
Some newspaper articles,
And the location of a box
At the Dimond Library.
Someday I will go there,
To see your pictures and papers
And get to know you a little more.
The man with the bow tie and red suspenders
My Grandpa.

Copyright © Carrie Batcheller, 2024, All rights reserved.