1960 – Grandpa's Death Home
In August of 1960 the family took off from Pekin, Ill to head to Toledo,Ohio to visit my grandfather. My grandfather, John Raymond Hall, had became the assistant pro to his brother Norman at the Heather Downs Country Club in Toledo in 1930 and later became head pro. By 1957 he had been head pro for 20 years or more. Grandpa had been quite an athlete and had played professional football for the Younstown Patricians and played professional basketball and baseball in the Toledo area in his youth. Everyone called him “Hap” because of his happy disposition.
The reason we had come in such a hurry was because grandpa had had a stroke and Dad was concerned he wasn't going to be around long. I was 16 yrs old and had just finished 2nd in the A flight Tazewell County golf tourney and was very proud and brought my trophy to show him. As we arrived grandpa was upstairs resting and after a half hour or so he decided he would try to come downstairs. Grandpa came down and exchanged greetings and sat down on the couch where I sat down next to him. I couldn't wait to show him the trophy which dad said to leave in the car until the appropriate time. Just then an acquaintance of grandpa and grandma came in from the Heather Downs Country Club and grandpa stood up to shake his hand and say hi and then sat back down next to me. As the man was standing in front of us talking to grandma and my mom, grandpa's hand grabbed my right knee. I looked to my right and his head was arched back and his mouth was open and it was clear that he was in pain. I looked up at the people standing in front of us and realized that they weren't aware of the situation and I had to get their attention. But I couldn't. I froze. I couldn't believe no one could see that grandpa was having a stroke. It was probably only a matter of 5 seconds or so but it seemed like an eternity. Finally grandma noticed and Jack ran upstairs to get grandpa's medicine. After giving him his pill they laid him down on the couch and he was turning blue. They called an ambulance but we watched him die right there. I was in shock. Mom told me to go down the street to a friend's house and tell them that grandpa had died. There was a girl there that I had a crush on from prior visits. As I approached the house I thought about how nice it would be to see her again. I knocked and her mom came to the door. I told her my mom told me to tell her that grandpa had died. But I was so excited about seeing the girl that I probably had a smile on my face. I was hoping that she was going to ask me in so I could see the girl but of course that wouldn't have been appropriate. She asked me if I was sure. I probably still had a stupid grin on my face when I said yes. She said “ok” and closed the door.
When I arrived back at grandpa's house the medics were taking grandpa out of the house on a gurney and my older brother Jack was sitting on the front porch crying. I think it was then that it hit me what had just happened and I sat down next to him and altho I tried I don't think I was able to cry. I'm sure I was wondering if I had reacted faster if grandpa would have still been alive.
In 1962 at the University of Illinois in my English class I had an assignment to write a story about a situation in my life where time stood still and my heightened senses caused me to remember events in a vivid manner. I immediately thought of grandpa's death but wondered if it would be right to use it as a means to get a good grade. I finally did and was able to get a B+ which for me was pretty good for an English class.
Also in 2004 while in Federal prison in Butner, NC I was taking a 2yr Business Administration course from Vance-Granville Junior College when I gave an introductory speech for my speech class in which I told of my grandpa's death and my inaction and reaction.