Monday was my paternal grandfather, Chester Hanna's birthday. He passed away in May of 2007 at the ripe old age of 93. He was surprisingly computer savvy for a man of his generation. I miss his daily emails. They weren't terribly newsy, but he fondly called me "kid", and it always brightened my day to see one of his messages waiting in my inbox. He handed down his love of genealogical research to me, and we spent many afternoons online, sharing family history.
He was born in Ervin Township, Howard County, Indiana on March 22, 1914, and lived in and around the area his entire life. He retired after working for Delco Electronics for 35 years, but always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, dabbling in various businesses. For years, he ran a professional photography studio from his home, with a complete dark room in the cellar. I spent many a happy hour watching the photos magically emerge in the pans of fluid. To this day, I think of him whenever I walk into a photo shop, and catch that heavenly whiff of developing solution.
One of my dearest memories is standing in the back of his easy chair and asking for his black plastic comb, which he always kept, along with his assortment of pens in his trusty pocket protector. After I combed his Brylcreemed hair down over his eyes, he would peer out with a comical look, and make me giggle with delight. He was a quiet and unassuming little man. I always thought if he would just grow a thick mustache, and smoke a cigar, he would look exactly like Groucho Marx. But his personality was totally different; no singing of Lydia the Tattooed Lady, or silly Grouchoesque walks. And that's okay. I loved him just the way he was.
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