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A candid portrait of my maternal grandfather, affectionately referred to in our family as "Bop." The "halo" that appears in this photo was most appropriate for this amazing man who traveled the world for the White Stag Company for 40 plus years, earning the respect and love of those he helped everywhere he went. He was a self-made man who left a jealous stepmother and troubled home at the age of 13, surviving at first by lying about his age and fighting as a featherweight boxer. He later taught himself garment-making, created his own line of new and improved slacks for law enforcement personnel in Los Angeles, surviving the Great Depression by finding a way to manufacture them inexpensively, but without compromising on quality. Despite the objections of others, he was the first in his company to hire people of color at a time when it was still considered controversial. He became an avid golfer at the age of 50 when his doctor told him to get more exercise, and was the soul of patience in teaching me the secrets of the proper grip and his perfect swing. There are really no words to express the impact this truly angelic man had on my life, the love that he showered upon me and our entire family, the innate decency and goodness of his being...something I took so for granted until I grew up to understand just how rare a man he was. He took care of our "Nonnie," his wife of 68 years, for as long as he could, and far longer than he should have considering the impact it had on his own health, when she developed Alzheimer's disease. He never complained, and never revealed to us just how heavy the burden was, until it became clear during family visits that the challenge was jeopardizing his health as well.
Bop never had a bad word to say about anyone, was an avid reader of authors such as Herman Wouk and James Michener. He literally consumed 3 or more books a week until he passed away at the age of 97. His stories of other peoples and the countries he had visited, kept me rapt for hours...and along with his secret Keno techniques, I so wish that I had written every story down.
This is another in the Black and White series of photos I did to honor my amazing family.
November 24th, 2012
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