It was early morning, the day after Christmas, 1975. Us kids were still sleeping but awoke to the sounds of... we weren't sure what. People talking? Somthing going on outside? Yes, an ambulance was at our home. It was taking Granddad away. I remember 4 of us staring out that bedroom window. That was the last time I saw him.
The grownups returned home later, Grandma sat in our living room crying, weeping. I was very young, only 7 years, (almost 8). My little mind couldn't wrap itself around what was happening.. If he's gone, what will we do with his presents that he just opened yesterday? On some level, I'm glad I was young, knowing someone as an adult is much different, the attachment is different. I'm sure it's very painful still today - My Grandmother is still living, she turned 91 last month. All these years alone, can you imagine?
I don't have many memories of him. I know he had a dog named Bullet - but I don't know if that is an actual memory or just something I know from photos. I do remember clearly asking him about his hat - "What does NAPA mean?" He said with a chuckle - "North Adams Police Association." I was impressed and I remember believing this for a long time - until I was old enough to actually know what a NAPA store is - long after he was gone. Most of what I know is from my Grandmother and my Mom. No real memories of my own. One story that comes to mind - Grandma tells me that when he returned from WWII, having lost his left eye, he had a glass one. They visited a lake with some friends one afternoon and Granddad, forgetting about his eye jumped right into the water - they searched for his eye for a long time before finally deciding that they weren't ever going to find it. He had to go get a replacement.
This post is in memory of my Grandfather, William Patrick Bellew, who was born on November 26, 1917 in Preston, Lancs, England and died December 26, 1975 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, at the young age of 58. He was a WWII vet, part of the 94th Bomb Group in the Army Air Force, stationed in England. He worked a myriad of jobs in his lifetime, including work in the Cotton Mills in Adams Mass., and a job in security for Pinkerton in DC.
I didn't really know him, but as I write I feel pain for my Grandmother and my Mom. I've got a photo here of me and him, I appear to be about 3 years old. The photo had paper stuck to the front of it and is a bit damaged but it's the only one I've got of both of us. It is a treasure.
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