Sunday, May 21, 2006

My grandfather only tried to buy me once

My grandfather only tried to buy me once. If I would forego a mission, he would put me through Harvard. It wasn't quite phrased like that, but my parents sat me down and explained that was what it really meant. I'd already passed on MIT and Stanford (though he did not know that) in favor of BYU. I turned down his offer.

I grew up in trailer parks, the son of an enlisted man in the Air Force. My dad had volunteered, been rejected, was drafted and was then accepted (the draft board didn't care about his broken back, and when they cleared him, the Air Force was suddenly interested in him). He never got out, staying in the military far longer than the four years he had originally expected.

My mother's family had a different perspective on life. When she went to visit her uncle in prison, the guards served them a picnic lunch on the hillside. She later learned that guards in most prisons do not address the prisoners with "yes sir" (or the Greek equivalents). My mother's twin had a place in Manhattan, one in Rome and one in Athens when they weren't at Princeton. I had a triple bunk bed I shared with my two brothers, all the books in the world, and was happy. I look back and am still happy to have lived my life.

Best of all, I had loving, kind and thoughtful parents, who spent time with me and who I am happy to see, even today. And I'm glad I did not sell myself.

Thanks to FMH and Eve, whose post [here] got me to finally start writing a bit on this topic. I'll try to write more.

On the Shangri-la Diet, I've come across some various flavorless protein powders and I'm going to start using those for my flavorless calories, at least in part. That way I can up the dose, yet still get enough protein in my diet. I'm pleased with the new weight training approach I've found and am really hoping to be in decent shape by September. Funny, I've gone from having a hoped for goal of 178 pounds to seeing that as a way point on the way to my current goal.

My bruised rib is almost completely healed (I lost track of the ground while trying to throw someone softly and dropped them on me instead of on the ground. Still a throw for Ippon, but ouch ...) My shoulders have recovered from the rotator cuff inflammation I had that sidelined me for a couple of years,* and I can now do weight exercises with them. It has been interesting coming back to Judo without a significant edge in arm and shoulder strength. I am finding many, many things I learned wrong but that I used to muscle through.

Now I learn something new every class, often with a good deal of embarrassment.

(*it was too easy to fix, especially after being a nagging pain for a couple of years. I saw a doctor, he passed me off to his therapist who basically told me that it didn't matter how I got the problem, all I had to do was work on my posture and it would go away. I did, it did. That theme of "it doesn't matter what caused the problem, the question is how to solve it" has come up a lot in my life this year).


annegb said...

Did you grandpa ever give you any money since?

I'm thinking of disowning my kids and leaving it all to my grandkids.

The granddaughter of that Buffett guy was on Oprah. She said her grandfather paid for her education and her living during the time she was in college and never gave her any other money. She sort of resented it.

Stephen said...

No. He disinherited my mother and wrote us all off. He also was complicit in embezzeling money that she would otherwise have received.

My mom was irate with her older sister, who explained that mom's twin needed the money since her husband was going to leave all the money and property to the kids and she would need a few more million just to survive when her husband died. She died first, of lung cancer.

That entire discussion did create a bit of a rift between the two surviving sisters.

How much you should give kids, how easy or hard you should make it for them is always a real question. On the one hand, you don't want to turn them into drones, on the other hand, you don't want their lives to be harder than they have to be.

I keep meaning to blog on the point, but I just can't bring it all together.

My mom's relatives did care, and did try, they just gave up on us as dead end foolish religious extremists that didn't chose legitimate employment or education.

Only one of the classical studies type PhDs counted in their book (my grandmother had a PhD in Archeology, as did my mother's twin).

Dixie Amazon said...

I am very interested in how it goes with the protein.

Stephen said...

It should arrive with the UPS truck today or tomorrow and I'll post on it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was a lot of temptation to not serve a mission and to go to Harvard!

I am sorry your mom had that experience. My grandpa was a farmer and after his dad died, he bought his dad's farm to add to his farm that bordered it. His half brother was very upset by this and talked my grandpa's sister in encouraging her to leave my grandpa out of an inheritance. I think my grandpa always got along fine with his mom. In her will she left him 1 dollar to show that not leaving him money was not an oversight. I think this is why my grandpa tried to be very fair with all of his children and grandchildren. When grandma died, grandpa said that if people wanted anthing in the house that they would have to buy it at the auction. He split the sale of their four bedroom ranch home evenly between his four children. My grandpa never gave a lot of money to his grandchildren for the most part. When I came home from my mission, I found out that he had given all of his grandchildren three thousand dollars while I was on my mission and it was being held in an account to me although I was not given direct access as there was concern I would give it all to the Church. I am not sure if that was grandpa or my parent's concern. I am the only member. That money did allow me to pay for my first year of College after my mission without having to work. I took advantage of that taking requirements that required a lot of research for papers or speeches at the same time. My grandpa was very fair in his will when he passed away. The money was split between his two living children and a third way with my deceased Aunts share being split between her surviving children. I wish all families had someone with such integrity as my grandpa.

annegb said...

This is a dilemma for us, but I'm thinking we'll go with percentages, list our grandchildren first, then our kids, and leave the rest to charity. which may be about $5 by the time we die.

I have several very rich friends and they have had lots of family problems re money.

What I was thinking was take 40% of what's left after bills and stuff and divide it between our grandchildren, give the other children 10% each of what's left and then to charity.