Today is Grandpa Roy Duncan’s birthday. Thomas Leroy Duncan was born 122 years ago in LaMoille, Illinois.
Grandpa Duncan was the poster boy for Enthusiasm. He was always up for whatever activity was suggested. “I’m going to the store to get bread, does anyone want to go?” Grandpa Duncan would want to go. He was interested in anything his children or grandchildren were doing.
He had married his high school sweetheart, Albie Irene Oakland, and they had three daughters. Mom always said hers was an ideal childhood – picnics, big family gatherings for holidays and reunions, and a few road trips.
But Grandpa’s life had many tribulations. Albie died when the girls were 14, 12, and 9. He eventually remarried, but also outlived that wife. His third marriage was to a younger woman and he was cherished for the rest of his life.
His third wife told me this story. When Grandpa was getting on in years, he would get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom. As he got out of bed, he would pat his place on the sheet and say ‘Save my place for me.’
He gave me one of those childhood dream moments when I was about 10. He worked in the accounting department at Stewart’s Department Store in Rockford. Mom and I were visiting to celebrate DeKalb’s centennial. Grandpa took me to the toy department and asked me what I wanted. Anything I wanted. The dream part was being asked, because I don’t even remember what I chose!
I use Grandpa Duncan as a model – which side of the family do I want to be like in a given situation? Usually it’s his side! I’ve never quite matched his positive outlook, that enthusiasm, and the willingness to join in and help. I still aspire to it.