Texas girl in the middle of Kiwiana

Amy Boatman

Home / Essays / 2006 / December / My Grandpa

My Grandpa

Roy Boatman was my grandpa and I loved him very much. I was his only grandchild as well as the only girl in the family. My Granny told me that when he would baby sit me she was always so impressed that he would change my diaper and everything. Turns out he was going to the lady next door and getting her to do it. My first memory of him and my Granny is when I was maybe 3 years old. They had just left me in Dallas with my parents and gone back home to Austin. I was lying on the floor crying hysterically. I mean lying on the floor kicking my feet in a huge fit crying. When my parents divorced, they stayed as close to me and my mom as before. My mom was really happy that they were such a huge part of my life. They would come down to Marble Falls and pick me up most weekends so I could stay with them. Grandpa would sit and play games with me for hours on end. We would play Monopoly and Crazy Eights and a bunch of other games I don't remember now. He seemed perfectly content being with me. He taught me how to whistle and I learned to do it well. He and I would whistle old songs together, he would whistle the first part and I would finish it. All my life people have commented on how well I whistle and I always say with a smile my Grandpa taught me. He was the smartest man I knew even though he didn't have a lot of formal schooling. He read so much and taught himself how to do so many things. He loved to learn.

He was so proud of his military service. He was always showing me his newest newsletter from the ship he had been on, the Wren, or something from a book about it. He told me so many stories over the years about his shipmates and the many pranks they pulled. He told me I don't know how many times about being in Tokyo Bay when the surrender was accepted. He would show me old pictures of that time and was still able to name everyone in the picture. His time in the war was bittersweet for him. It was a horrible experience on one hand but an incredible adventure on the other. It was one of the most important times in his life.

By the time I became a teenager, our relationship went a little sour. We were both so stubborn and we often locked horns. Even though we argued and fought, we never stopped loving each other. In one particular instance, he apologized to me for something and Granny said she thought I was the only one he had ever apologized to. As I got older, our relationship got easier.

I'm not sure where this started but we started calling each other by little names. He would call me a turkey and I would call him a titty baby. When he'd lean over and say turkey and I'd say titty baby, he'd laugh that deep laugh of his. I also liked to call him an old coot and he just loved that. He liked to call me his favorite grandbaby and his least favorite too. He didn't always know how to say he loved you so he expressed it by picking on you sometimes. He liked being funny.

The last time I talked to him was last Thursday. He sounded just as jovial and upbeat as he always did when he talked to me. Sometime on Sunday, he just went to sleep and didn't wake up. He was lying on his side looking like he always did when he slept. I can't think of a better way to go. When we were going through his wallet looking for ID, the only picture in there was of me when I graduated high school. He also saved cards I had sent him over the years and in the bottom of one drawer was my kindergarten class picture. I had no idea he was that sentimental.

He has been a constant in my life since I was born. I can't imagine going to their house and him not being there. I will miss him so much. I'll miss his laugh and even him picking on me. I'll miss him showing me his most recent woodworking creation or telling me another story about his war years. Most of all I'll just miss knowing he's there if I need him. I was blessed to have had him in my life for so long.