Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Peeling an onion

Couldn't sleep last night and as I tossed and turned my mind ran freely back to earlier times.  Sometimes I am amazed at what I remember from my past - by the clarity and detail.  Then again - if I am the only one who remembers maybe it's all just a fantasy. This one isn't though.  It's a vivid, fun memory I have of my grandfather Mac, my dad and I. 

Near the end of his life my grandfather was under hospice care at the condo he shared with my dad.  I've mentioned before that my last name is an adopted name - my dad adopted me when he married my mother and so his name is on my birth certificate. Now my dad Jack shares the adopted last name as he was adopted by Mac when Mac married my grandmother Mary.  Still with me? Well it turns out that Mac was also an adopted member of the clan - he was adopted by a Canadian McConvey in his youth.  I did not know that until one evening when the three of us strolled across the condo parking lot to the local neighborhood bar for an adult beverage or two. Mac loved his highballs.

So - the three of us were sitting in the bar drinking and chatting. The cocktail waitress asked what our relationship was and Mac simply said this is my son and grandson. The waitress and bartender were so impressed they immediately said it was clear we were related as we looked so much alike. At that point I suspected they'd been hitting the sauce a bit themselves as we do not look alike at all - Mac always reminded me of Jackie Gleason and Jack - my dad - is the spitting image of his mother as I am of mine. The three of us all laughed out loud and thanked the barkeep for the compliment and the round he offered gratis. There we were - the adopted son of an adopted son of an adopted son being celebrated as family - which we most certainly were in the most important sense of the word.

Mac was an interesting guy. He and Mary lived in Los Altos - about 40 minutes south of San Francisco where he worked.  He was in the magazine  business - think Publishers Clearing House before it became Publishers Clearing House. He was a huge baseball fan too.  Upon learning we were moving to California from Colorado the first thing he did was put a swimming pool in his back yard.  He also took me to many baseball games at the old Seals Stadium in SF.  If memory serves, I was i n the stands for the debut of a young infielder named Willie McCovey.  Baseball fans will recall that debut - 4-for-4 against Robin Roberts. 

Mac road the train to work every day - he'd get up and drive his old car Charlie - a 30 something Buick I believe - to the train station.  Occasionally on a Saturday while we were staying with them until our house was built my dad and I would go along to the office - always a treat as we were guaranteed at minimum lunch at Lefty O'Douls.  Turns out Lefty O'Douls is till around - Lefty O'Douls - and I am now dreaming of freshly carved roast beef sandwiches.  And maybe a ball game. Good times for sure, especially for a transplanted 9-year old kid.

That's it for this installment - more later.


  1. The great thing about these old memories is that not alone can you feel them, but you can taste them as well! I look forward to the next instalment.

  2. I have seen many adopted children who look very much like their adoptive parents. I think there is more to it than coincidence. I think it was meant to be.

  3. http://www.livescience.com/7024-lovers-alike.html

    1. Interesting but the three of us lookd NOTHING like each other at that time.

  4. Touching story, Shackman. Thanks for sharing.
    blessings ~ maxi