Winter Solstice – Grandpa’s Birthday

December 21st was my grandfather’s birthday. He was born in 1896 and passed away in 1980. He died 2 days before my mother’s 3rd husband Mike. That was a pretty rough year, especially for my mom. Her dad, Harold Henshey, was the only grandparent I ever had. My father’s parents were already gone by the time I was born. My mother’s mother passed away two years before I was born, she had Lou Gehrig’s disease (lateral sclerosis). My mother was always worried she would go at a young age, but she’s 82 now and going strong.

She has some memory issues, and so on, but overall her attitude is good, and she’s relatively healthy. She walks every day and gets out to bowling, and quite a number of other activities. She gets to church every week. It’s an important thing to think of family this time of the year, and especially in respect of the fact that today was my grandfather’s birthday. I can remember quite a number of family gatherings at his house in North Hollywood. He lived in Toluca Lake, down the street from Bob Hope. He was a horseman, acted in a few early pictures including “Birth of a Nation.” He was just an extra, but they used anybody and everybody who could ride a horse in those days.

My mother was born in Hollywood by the way. She always says “California’s the land of fruits and nuts.” She knows, she grew up in one of the strangest towns there is!

Happy Birthday Grandpa! I hope I see you again in heaven someday.


3 thoughts on “Winter Solstice – Grandpa’s Birthday

  1. New details. Grandpa was born, Dec. 21, 1896. He died June 18, 1980. He and my step-father Mike Bates died on the same day. Grandpa was buried in Hollywood, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The headstone lists him as a “Private, US Army, WWI”.

  2. Another update: I actually learned this past year that my Grandfather and my Step-father passed away on the same day. We got ahold of my mother the day her father passed, and she got on a plane that afternoon and came home. She and Mike had been traveling about in the Motorhome, and were in Rapid City, SD at the time. Apparently, Mike passed away that night – of a heart attack, and was found 2 days later by the campground staff.

    I never realized. I cannot imagine the impact of that on her at the time. I mentioned this in the final post I wrote after my mother’s passing in January.

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