Meet GRUMPY!!!

One of the BEST INVENTIONS EVER was the invention of the grandparent!  I say this as a former-kid who had some great ones myself, and also as  a mom who benefits from the fact that my kids have a spectacular array. We’ve got ALL KINDS of fun grandparents over here.  I feel pretty lucky about that.

Of course, Charlie & Mouse have grandparents too!  Some of them have yet to be written and illustrated.  But in book 2, readers meet GRUMPY!

Heeeeere’s GRUMPY!

Since Charlie & Mouse are based on my own boys, Mose and Lew, Grumpy is based on my dad.  In real life, we call him Boppy, but the truth is that he and Grumpy are pretty much identical, from their resting eyes to their snoring noses.  When Grumpy (or Boppy) comes to visit, everyone has a good time, in an easygoing, pizza-eating, fort-building, walking-the-dog sort of way.

Heeeeere’s BOPPY! (with a little baby Mouse)

Today, in honor of Grumpy (and Boppy), and to celebrate the publication of my new book, I’m giving away five signed copies!  All you have to do to enter is to tell me a funny or sweet or goofy story (in the comments below) about YOUR grandpa.  Every grandpa is different, but in my experience, they’re all special.

I’ll start the ball rolling, by telling you about my own Grandpa Bob, who was larger than life, and full of stories. He liked martinis.  He wore a ring with a star sapphire in it, and a cartouche he’d gotten in Egypt, and I thought he could do magic. Once, when I was a kid, he flew to Baltimore for my birthday, all the way from California, with a gigantic pinata and a suitcase full of green avocados (not things you could easily find on the East Coast in those days).  When he opened his suitcase, the avocados spilled out all over the floor!  Grandpa Bob was an adventure, always. He  glittered.

Now YOU go!  Tell me about your Grandpa Bob, or your Boppy, or your Grumpy, or your Gramps, or your Papa, or your Pappaw, and while we’re at it, tell me what you call him!

16 Responses to “Meet GRUMPY!!!”

  1. Trey Says:

    My Pap taught me about the Chicago Cubs. We watched games on WGN, & he made sure I knew the glory of Wrigley Field, that ivy, the hand-operated scoreboard, & Harry Caray. When the Cubbies won the World Series this year, I wept when I called him on the phone. Together, we had waited our entire lives for that moment, & together, we celebrated it. Holy cow! #GoCubsGo

  2. Carrie Fannin Says:

    My granddad was Grandpa Bob too! He was the world’s most interesting man–handsome, daring, intelligent, and full of a dry humor. Grandpa Bob–a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam– was known as Major Robert J. Engle to the rest of the world. He was a true hero and the best grandfather ever.

  3. AMI JONES Says:

    My grandfather owned the local real estate office in our small town, and the highlight of coming into town for my brother and I was visiting his office. Not because we wanted to see him per se, but because his waiting room featured a penny gumball machine, and we were allowed to take ALL the pennies that would magically be sitting in his ash tray and split the resulting gumballs between us.

    I am wondering now if he set up the giant wads of gum to keep our mouths busy, so he and my parents could enjoy an actual conversation.

  4. Heather Says:

    My Granddad Ben was an Arkansas native who came to CA during the dust bowl. He was a gifted mechanic and could fix everything in his shell station. And, like a true Arkansas resident, he could tell a story over and over again and we wouldn’t get tired of it (mostly). :) He was proud of his family and when my grandmother was diagnosed with Emphasema, he quit his 40 year habit cold turkey.

  5. Rita King Says:

    My pop pop loved lawn maintenance. He would come over every day and work on our lawn. It was beautiful! When he was done for the day he would sit in a lawn chair and look at the grass while drinking a pabst blue ribbon beer.
    He would also pretend he didn’t hear my grandma but that’s another story.

  6. Tracy Says:

    My maternal grandfather was a rocket scientist by training, but a farmer at heart. I have many memories of sitting with him at their mountain cabin shucking corn and spitting watermelon seeds. I also got to sit up with him on the rusty, red tractor and ride the old logging trails with him when I was big enough to hold steady, but small enough to fit in his lap. He smelled of dirt and pipe tobacco. The last few months of his life I was lucky to visit for a few weeks at a time. I was between grad school and the job I’d eventually start two weeks before he died. He was to weak to tend his garden, so he’d sit in the window and holler instructions to me, what to water, weeds to pull, zucchinis to pick and tomatoes to eat right there in the warm sun. The smell of sun ripened tomatoes always makes me think of him.

  7. Heidi Rabinowitz Says:

    My Grandpa Leon was from The Old Country and always spoke with a Yiddish accent. When he hugged me and my sister, he would say “Oy mumma!” which basically meant “you are so cute I can’t stand it!” My family members still say that when we give hugs.

    Grandpa Leon always sang us a modified birthday song, which we still use:
    Happy birthday to you
    You belong in the zoo
    You look like a monkey
    And you smell like one too!

  8. Ellie Emerich Says:

    Gramps had a sunny disposition and a volunteering spirit. When he learned he could not enlist in the military in WWII because of flat feet, he offered to be the Civil Defensed block warden, cheerfully and efficiently running blackout drills and keeping track of where all of the neighbors were. He started a large Victory Garden on his corner lot, and delighted in handing out tomatoes, rhubarb, zucchini and other produce to the passersby. He spent most of his life as a book publisher, and he LOVED his job. He would frequently sneak home a few books for me from the ‘broke box’ in the bindery – books that had a nick or tear or an upside down cover and so could not be sold. I still have these beloved ‘orphaned books’ in my collection. Once, I asked him how he had had such good luck all of his life. “I never walked past a heads-up penny without picking it up,” he replied. When I asked what he did about the ‘heads down’ pennies, he grinned and said, “I flip them over and leave them for the next person to find.” I still do this in his memory!

  9. Vera Knauer Says:

    My grandfather used to catch sparrows with his bare hands.

  10. Rachel Says:

    Somehow, my Zeda was able to get to Shabbat dinner each Friday night *just* in the nick of time thanks to his magic ring! After dinner each Friday night, my cousin and I would sit on his lap as he recounted the usually perilous journey that almost kept him from getting home in time to sing with us: quicksand and jungles come to my middle-and mind as I recall sitting in one knee, my cousin on the other, while we waited for him to bounce us up and down” sing zmirot and recount the quick escape that brought him back home to Lenox Rd in Atlanta just in time for sundown. He should have been a children’s book author, too. Instead, he was a grocer, Sunday school teacher, and Zeda to 11 lucky kids.

  11. Gus Says:

    He passed when I was eight, so my memories are faded, but here goes.
    Grandpa chain-smoked, played the harmonica, and laughed a lot. At his house I always woke to the sound of him arguing with my dad and uncle, and the smells and sounds of my grandmother cooking. They loved to argue. They argued about how things work, history, politics (even though they were all Republicans), and religion (they were all Protestant). The encyclopedia and the Bible were summoned to settle many an argument. Most passed unsettled.

    When I was a baby, my brother who was two years older than me couldn’t say Jeff, so he called me Gus. The name caught on with my dad’s side of the family. They all called me Gus in the early years. My uncles still call me Gus sometimes today.
    One of my earliest childhood memories is Grandoa bouncing me on his knee saying, “Gustavious Gollinck Gashnick.” I have no idea how to spell that name. Grandpa claimed to have known a man with that name in the Army. He always laughed when he said it. I will carry it with me forever.

  12. Barb Maguire Says:

    My grandparents lived on Lake Huron so many of my memories of Grandpa include the water. He’d pull us in his boat so we could waterski and go swimming with us, throwing us over his back into the water or coming up from underwater to scare us. He made the best molasses cookies and we knew when we visited the gold cookie tin would be full of them waiting for us. Then we would head to the freezer for a Reese’s peanut butter cup. He would get them at work and we knew they would always be there. Most of all I remember his hugs and his love for us.

  13. Noelle York-Simmons Says:

    My Grampa was the original renaissance man. He was a WWII medic and a surgeon, played AMAZING ragtime piano, taught himself to code in Basic, built grandfather clocks for fun. He had a whole host of weird phrases: “Lordy save us, said Missus Davis!” “A thing of beauty and a joy forever.” He called the a graveyard “the bury patch”.
    He died while I was on my honeymoon.

  14. Hannah Barnaby Says:

    My Grandpa Jerry taught me to negotiate. I often flew (alone!) to visit him and my Grandma Marion in Racine, WI on school vacations, and on one visit, he “hired” me to wash all of my grandmother’s many, many glass bottles and jars that had been gathering dust in the cellar. “I’ll pay you for each and every one,” he told me, and I jumped at the chance to make some pocket money (which I knew we’d go and spend at the candy store later). When I’d finished the job — which took *hours* — he painstakingly counted all the items I’d cleaned and did some math in his head and then handed me, like, two dollars. “That’s it?!” I said, and he bent down to look me in the eye and said, “I never said how much for each one. You didn’t ask. And I bet you won’t make that mistake again.”

    He was right.

  15. a/k/a Nadine Says:

    My grandpa loved learning different languages and started teaching my sister and I French when we were in elementary school. He was an avid reader and a history buff. My roommate and I stopped in Fredericksburg on our way home from spring break in Florida. When I went to visit him in hospice (colon cancer), he asked me all about our visit, remembering more details than I did even though I’d just been there days before. He loved hiking and camping and traveling. He and my gram always came to our (dreadfully long and boring) dance and music recitals. After we’d performed, he would stand and clap and yell, “Bravo! Bravo!”

  16. Margie Culver Says:

    My maternal grandfather passed away when my mom was 4 years old, so I never knew him. I have a handmade rattle he made for my mom and several beaded necklaces he wove. My paternal grandfather had a heart attack when I was one year old. In the hospital before he died my dad was with his father. I was out in the hallway with my mother and grandmother, crying out loud. My grandfather looked at my dad and said, “You can’t keep Margaret down.” Even though I never knew my Grandpa those words have given me strength when I needed it most. This is one of the best gifts of Grandfathers; their wisdom never leaves us even if they do.

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