My grandfather's 90th birthday party was a success! I hope that if I reach 90, I'll have that many people so eager to come and celebrate with me.
One of the highlights of the party was a reading of choice extracts from my grandfather's high school year book. My grandfather, who was the assistant editor, had composed the introduction using the literary conceit of himself as a grandfather telling his grandkids about his high school days. Very strange and wonderful to be a grandkid, hearing how your grandfather imagined talking to you decades before you were born.
The funniest part of it is that neither I nor my cousins ever remember our grandfather telling us stories about high school -- or indeed about most of his past. My maternal grandfather wasn't, and isn't, much of a talker. I have lots of memories of us doing stuff together (hiking, boating, fishing, playing Scrabble), and of his boundless capacity to let us kids ramble on about our ideas and plans and exploits. But almost all the family stories about him were told by my grandmother or my mother, and I'm starting to realize that there's lots about his life that I never knew. I'm glad that this weekend provided some opportunities to fill in the gaps.