• Mallory Garber

Time Capsules for The Timeless

Nobody lives forever, but why can't their story?

There are so many different names grandparents go by and each and every one of them are unique to every individual family. There is Granny, Grand Pop, Abba, Gramps, Grand Dad, Pappy, and of course Grandpa. We call mine “Papa.” We just celebrated his 92nd birthday and I am embarrassed to say he is in better shape than I am. He might just be the most active 92-year-old I know. He goes to the gym at least three times a week, makes daily runs to Publix, all the while maintaining his talent of acrylic painting. I am so lucky to have someone in my life that has lived through so much and can share their experiences with me. There are times we are sitting and I think to myself, 

“this person is just 8 years from living for a whole century.” 

He is by far the most wise in our family. He’s been through it all from being in the Navy to getting his family through a depression, he has always set a good example for me to follow.

I think our elders deserve more respect than what they are given. Nobody wants to grow old. These people reached the inevitable we all fear, making them stronger than ever. So much can happen during a lifetime, why should all that go to waste. Everyone deserves to have their whole story heard, not just the chapters. 

We underestimate all the things a person can go through. Every year, my old high school, Lake Highland, would host a Veterans day honoring all those who have served our country. The day consists of a show put on by each of their talented singing and dancing groups, actors, and artists. Afterwards the veterans are treated to a complimentary food and drink service with live music. Being that both of my grandfathers had served, they would be invited every year. The event was all they could talk about until the next would take place. My grandpa would turn to me and say, “these kids are so talented, I can’t believe they do all of this for us.” Why shouldn’t he believe it? They deserve every minute of it. One feature of the show is asking each branch of the army to stand when their name is called. There is something beautiful about watching each and every one of them stand with pride as their eyes glimmer with nostalgia. 

I served as a volunteer each of these years, solely for the experience. I was surrounded by all these amazing stories I never knew existed. It’s one thing when their granddaughter would relay the story to me, but to hear from a first-hand survivor? That is a whole other story. I can recall sitting back, listening to one man’s particular story thinking, 

“Wow his life would make an amazing movie.”

And then it hit me…everyone’s lives are their own personal movie, one that should be viewed. Too much can happen in a century for one to live a “boring life.” Just living that long itself is exciting!

There is one story in particular I will never forget. During one of the Veterans day shows, by grandpa leaned over and shared one of his own stories. During WWII he was placed on an escort carrier: The USS Copahee-cve12. He was on this ship during the Okinawa Typhoon for 3 days witnessing waves over 60 feet. Before the typhoon hit, he was on the bow look out station. He reported a land like sighting only to realize that it was a massive typhoon wave headed their way with no where to run. As a port look out, he was very lucky to make it back into the ship with the latch closed before the typhoon released its wrath. He said that was the closest call to death he had ever had. 

As he told the story, I sat there eager as ever, hanging on to every word. It is stories like this that should not go unheard. It is stories like this that make people respect you and understand you. Hearing it from him first hand really allowed me to visualize the experience.