52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Invite to Dinner

This is such a difficult decision for me! I would love to talk to so many of my ancestors and pepper them with questions about their lives, their families, and their ancestry. However, there is one person I think I would like to talk to more than anyone else: my grandfather, Jim Robinson.

I am so lucky that my two grandmothers are still living, and I have many of memories of my other grandfather who died when I was in high school. But my Dad’s father, Jim, died when I was almost 4 years old, and although I have a few memories of him, I would love to have a chance to really get to know him now that I am older.

Three memories in particular stick out in my mind when I think of Jim, who I called Papa. When I was 3, my parents took a trip to England, so I stayed with Papa and my grandmother, Mawmaw. I remember them taking me to see some horses at a farm in Nashville. I love horses, and I have always wondered if that stems from this happy memory. We could see the horses from the road, and Papa stopped the car, all three of us jumped out, and I petted the horses. Mawmaw took several photos of Papa and I. I don’t believe my grandparents knew the owner, they just thought it would be a fun, spur of the moment activity.

During that same week, Papa took me down to the small creek at the front of their house to fish several times. I had a very small pole, and the fish were tiny, but it was so much fun to spend time with him!

The last memory I have of Papa is for one birthday, he bought me a pink convertible with a rechargeable battery that I could drive around the driveway. I loved that little car! It would take hours to charge for only about 30 minutes of driving time, but I remember going round and round in that little car with Papa talking to me and watching.

Everyone who knew my grandfather has said that he was unfailingly kind, very generous, and a true gentleman. He had complicated relationship with both of his parents. His difficult childhood led to a challenging adult life, but he selflessly  cared for both of his parents, two aunts, and two grandmothers. He died of heart failure when he was only 63 years old.

Here is a shot list of questions I would like to ask him:

  • What he really thought of both of his parents.
  • What his grandmothers were like, how often he saw them, and how he spent his time when he visited them.
  • Why he did not to go to college.
  • If he knew that his great-grandfather was also a printer in Nashville.
  • How he dealt with the constant media attention.
  • If  he enjoyed owning the little grocery store in Pegram.
  • If he could help me identify some of the unidentified family photographs!

Just to name a few!!