Grandpa was always on the move, and once he decided to go, he didn't waste time looking back. This vital part of his character started at an early age. He was only four when his mother died, and as soon as he was old enough, he left Irwin, Missouri and traveled the world before settling in Kansas City in the early 1920's.
Emerson Moseley worked at the central office of thePostal Telegraph and received market closings from all satellite offices. Night after night he received reports, but one in particular caught his attention because it always closed the same way. "Ok, good night, God bless you, see you tomorrow, Della Kay." Curiosity got the best of him and he decided to pay her a surprise visit.
Della Kay was a good woman and realized right away that Emerson wasa man worth catching. They were married three weeks later against the protests of everyone who knew them. "It will never last," they said, but it did. For 60 years.
Three hundred sixty eight days after the wedding their first and only child arrived. Emerson tried several jobs in town but soon became bored with the routine. He hit the road and spent most of his life working out of his car. Theroad was a symbol of life and offered limitless opportunities. He always returned home with a gift or two under his arm, but one particular Christmas surprise would change their lives forever. On his arm was a Kitten; not the feline variety, but the woman who would marry his son and give him the granddaughters who would breathe new life into him. That's where I come into the picture. I'm thefirst-born child of that marriage.
Grandpa became my best friend at a very early age. He taught me to read and write before I went to school and never stopped teaching me. He instilled in me an unquenchable thirst for learning. Because we were always together, I was quickly dubbed his "little buddy." My sister arrived five years after I did, and things seemed to fit perfectly when she and mygrandmother bonded in much the same way.
We enjoyed countless blessings but our lives were also touched by trials. My sister and I both married and brought another generation of grandchildren into their lives. Grandma suffered a cruel stroke that affected both body and speech, leaving her able to think but unable to communicate. When my father died unexpectedly, we grieved together and pulled closer as afamily. My sister and I tried to fill the void in their lives and became even richer for it.
Against Grandma's protests, Grandpa sold the house with its memories, bought an apartment at the best retirement community in town, and auctioned off everything they owned. The idea of change revitalized him, but every blow of the auctioneer's gavel tore away at my grandmother's heart.
Grandma wiltedin the new environment, but Grandpa flourished. He was on new turf, had a lot of exploring to do, and was relieved of the draining task of giving total care to Grandma. Although he made friends there, he remained devoted to her, and wore the carpet thin through the maze of hallways that connected his apartment to her tiny room.
I called the apartment every morning under the guise of checking onGrandpa, but the truth was that I didn't want to start my day without him. On Saturdays I would go to Grandpa's apartment with my children, and we would go as a group to visit Grandma. I believed it was my responsibility to help her visualize life outside that pale green room.
Grandpa became quite a hit at the home with the masses of widows confined to the nursing home. They watched with envywhen he wheeled Grandma through the halls. A healthy male in a nursing home is a rarity and caused a lot of whispers among the old ladies when they thought he was out of earshot. Their comments of appreciation always made me smile.
In time, Grandma passed on and we became concerned when he seemed to give up on living. I stood by helplessly and watched this strong man deteriorate until it finally...