Quantcast

Pipe Legacies

Help Support Brothers of Briar:

The German Shepherd

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
A fellow over at SF began a thread about people before us that smoked pipes, and how their example affected us. This is what I wrote in response:
My Grandfather (on my mother's side) was a self-educated man. He left grammar school in 1923, while still in the fourth grade to start working to provide for his family. His older brother (named Ed) and he went around the community looking for houses to be painted, fences to be built or repaired and any sort of odd job they could find around "Irish Hill" in Corning, New York. Their father had left home to find his fortune in California and left behind a wife, two sons (my granddad and his brother and a daughter - my great aunt Bernice - pronounced BER-nis). As my granddad grew, he began smoking cigarettes - Chesterfields and Camels (straights - no filters). He eventually won the "Gold Gloves" in boxing (he fought at 135 pounds and stood 5 feet and 7 inches) and became rather famous around the area for his athletic skills. His fore-arms were 14 inches around and he had hands so large that he could put his hand flat on a piece of paper and cover the whole thing. He eventually turned to professional boxing for spare money (he worked during the day in the secretarial pool of Corning Glass Works) and retired from pro boxing after posting 22 wins against NO losses. He used his winnings to date Florence Doan and they eventaully married. When he proposed, he asked, "Florence, what are you doing next Saturday? Would you like to get married?" He was a man of few words and no nonsense. In his spare time, granddad (his name was Thomas Stanley Clark) read. And he read and read and read. His favorite books were encyclopedias and his favorite periodicals were National Geographics. While in his 60's, granddad discovered pipes. He began gathering up some corn cobs and some nice old Kaywoodies that he would find in area yard sales. Oh how I wish I could have gotten my hands on those 1940s vintage Kaywoodies. Grandad would sit at the kitchen table with a Kaywoodie or a cob in his mug and an encyclopedia in his massive hands. He drank Budweiser from a coffee cup. His tobacco of choice was Middleton's Cherry Blend. Oh how incredible that tobacco smelled. My brother and I would follow Grandad around the house and the yard like little puppy dogs, just waiting to catch a sniff of that sweet aroma. He would sometimes open the tin (which had the key type of opener that traveled around the lid) and let us stick our noses in and inhale deeply.
In my early teens, I began to sneak a bit of Cherry Blend in one of his Kaywoodies and go out behind the house and light up. One day my grandmother caught me, and oh my. My poor Grandfather caught it from her. She was a little bitty thing, but boy could she lay down the law when she felt it necessary. It was all his fault for smoking in front of me and he was contributing to my delinquency! At least that is what she said. So, my Grandad did the right thing. He put his pipes away in a locked cabinet and made a great show of it, so that my Grandma would feel better. He then told me about staying away from his pipes and such. As soon as Grandma left the room, Grandad quietly showed me where the key would be kept and with a wink in his eye he strode away to read.
Grandpa Clark was a master of blowing smoke rings. He was able to blow a perfect ring and then puff out a smoke ball that he could shoot through the ring he just made. To me, this was sheer magic. My poor Grandma never really knew the hyjinx Grandad and I were up to as I practiced this art under Grandad's watchful eye. I even grew to like Cherry Blend. All of you folks who disparage Cherry Blend had better be careful, 'cuz he passed his boxing skills down to me. I had an amateur boxing record of 42-0. So, say it with me, "Mmmmmm. Cherry Blend! Yummy!" ;-)
Grandad was my role model. Like his dad, mine ran off when I was very young (I was actually two years of age). Grandpa Clark was the "father figure" that I needed. He passed down to me his love for pipes, sports and life itself. He squeezed a lot of life into the 74 years he walked the earth. When non-smoking related cancer took his life, the world lost a great man. His favorite pipe shape was the Bulldog. As he watched my brother and me grow up, he said that he saw in me the tenacity of a bulldog, so he called me his "little bulldog." May be that is why I like Bulldog pipes too.

Jay
__________________
 

regor

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
672
Reaction score
0
Jay, that was a touching thing to read! Thank you very much :cyclops: :sunny: :sunny:
 

Midnight Blues

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
830
Reaction score
1
Jay,

Those are some wonderful memories to have of your Grandfather. Thanks for sharing them.
 

Carlos

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Council Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
6,720
Reaction score
8
Location
Chestnut, IL
Very good read. Brings back memories of Uncle's and their pipes.
 

J_Rock

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
460
Reaction score
0
Jay,

Thanks for the story. My grandfather and I had a very (I mean very) simular relationship. That was good to read as it brought up some good memories of my relationship with him.
 

Puff Daddy

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Council Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
6,897
Reaction score
0
Great story Jay! Thanks for sharing 8)

As Tin Man can tell you, our grandfather was a pipesmoker, tin still has his old pipes. Gramps died in the late 60's, but indelibly burned into our memories is a tall, thin, light haired man with brown trousers, button down shirts that were never without coins or candy in the pockets, and a pipe in hand. Grampa's pipe was as much a part of grampa as his look and his demeanor, it was a part of his essence. Simply cannot picture the man without a pipe. Clearly they were the little treasured things in his simple life - a man who was from a Hungarian immigrant family, raised four kids and worked a modest engineering job at JPL laboratories in the NASA glory days. Certainly there wasn't the kind of money to expend on Dunhills and Barlings, but you'd have never known that they weren't, as he seemed to treasure them so - the Medicos and Kaywoodies he kept in his simple rack. I can remember Grandma saying how "He always loved the white one best", a little drug store meerschaum - probably a Kaywoodie.

I often think that he'd be both pleased and amused that his two grandsons are now pipesmokers, and that they smoke highgrades. I think that last part would be a headscratcher for a man who lived through the depression and saw the handfull of modest drugstore pipes he possessed as his sole treasured and worthy companions. I bet he'd look longingly at them though, and want to hear the stories of the carvers and the histories of the companies and of the collectors who go to great lengths to find them. No doubt that smile of amusement would be also a smile of appreciation and of happiness that his offspring could actually do something like that, collect a few precious things.

Raisin a bowl to gramps! 8)


:afro:
 

puros_bran

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
10,992
Reaction score
0
I to was raised by my (maternal)grandpa, of course here in Ky we call em 'papaws'. Papaw didn't smoke a pipe but he almost always had either a Kool cig or a Beechnut chew in. He was a kind hard working man who had a soft spot for 'the babys'. I miss the ole man. He passed on 19 years ago but to this day I can't look at a pic of him without whiping a tear away. He was my Father figure,my mentor and my friend. I really need to get the storys down on paper, it would be a shame for this generation of 'babys' not to know.
 

ZuluCollector

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
192
Reaction score
0
Jay, I loved your post. What luck to be taught how to be a man by such a man as your Grandfather. Thanks for giving my day such a good start.
 
Top