The XX beer guy had nothing on my Grandfather. Gilbert Morrison was without a doubt the most interesting man in the world. In my 34 years of life, I only got to know him a little because he was a very personal man. Yet, he left an indelible mark on me that has affected my desired pastimes and my career direction. I have been blessed to have an unquenchable wanderlust that was first piqued when looking and my Granddad’s slides of his world travels, and I chose to pursue a career in counseling thanks to his example as a psychiatrist.
I’ll leave better descriptions of him to those who knew him better, but I wanted to write about the weekend I was able to spend with my extended family remembering him and celebrating his life.
It wasn’t easy, but somehow all my siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all able to set aside last weekend to get together and reminisce about my granddad. Laura and I were lucky enough that her sisters and brother-in-law were able to watch our kids for us, and so last Friday we flew down to LAX to stay with my brother. Since I’ve been in grad school for the past several years I haven’t been able to travel much and I definitely haven’t visited my siblings as much as I’d like. So this was my first time seeing my brother’s newly remodeled house in Santa Monica. We were the first to arrive, by late evening all my siblings were under one roof for the first time in years. In fact, when coming home from the airport we were all in one car at the same time, and none of us could even remember the last time that happened.
My granddad was interred at the Pacific View cemetery in Newport, CA. When we arrived my parents and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins were already there. We gathered around the wall where his urn was placed with my grandmother and alongside my great-grandparents and we all took turns sharing memories of him. It was a mostly joyful gathering. After we were done we took a few photos and then looked for some of the famous graves in the cemetery. John Wayne was the only one we found, but hey it was John Wayne, that’s pretty much as good as it gets.
We then were treated to a lunch at P.F. Chang’s by my granddad’s trust. It was rather amazing that they actually kept everyone’s orders correct.
We finally got to my granddad’s apartment where my mom, my aunt and uncles had set aside mementos for all of us to look through and to take home. Like I said, my granddad was an interesting fellow, and his decades of travels had allowed him to accumulate some interesting items. In the end, we all found things we wanted with no quarreling or bickering.
We finished our weekend with a trip to a swanky West Beverly Hills restaurant, where we all stayed up way too late (especially since Laura and I had an early flight out the next morning), but it was worth it because we don’t get enough opportunities to sit around and just talk free of kids and responsibilities.