description

Historias: Stories of El Paso
A virtual exhibition curated by our community

Courtesy of: Ethan Thomas
Title: Untitled
Historia type: Photograph

My childhood with my grandfather was memorable and always filled with laughter and love. My grandpa, Robert Clinton Thomas, was a soldier in World War II. He stood and fought for our country out of the sheer love of his people. Even after WWII, he continued to fight in the Korean war.

While in the Navy, he was stationed on the USS Bunker Hill which was struck by an enemy aircraft. The plane struck the part of the ship that my grandfather was supposed to be on, but he just so happened to be walking back from the opposite side of the carrier. Ultimately, my grandfather survived but we couldn’t help but laugh, as every time he told us why he was on the other side of the ship he always gave us a different answer.

The stories ranged from getting VERY important paperwork, to getting coffee or just taking a bathroom break, we found it odd that we could never get a straight answer out of the man but we just enjoyed sitting with him and listening to his stories.

We spent most of our childhood with my grandparents because while we were young, our parents worked 8-5 jobs. Although we were enrolled in daycare, our parents were usually a little late to pick us up so my grandparents would get us up at the designated time and we would wait for our parents while eating frozen dinners and watching TV with our grandma.

When my grandpa passed away in 2010, it was my first real experience with death. I was 15 at the time and didn’t know exactly how to process all of it. I just knew that I would never be able to see my grandpa again, or hear his stories, or even hug him goodbye. He had spent the better part of the prior two years in hospice care, so we all expected it, but no one is ever ready for it. Even so, I still didn’t know how or what to think about the situation until one night.

I had a dream that night. My entire family on my mom’s side were sitting around my grandmother in their living room, no one was saying a word but the air was thick and heavy with grief. We knew that we were there to console our grandma Julie, but none of us could find the words as we were just as distraught.

Just then, Grandpa Bob walks out from around the corner leading to the bedroom, and stops in front of us. He addressed the room, “Don’t worry everyone, I will be alright, everything will be alright, I promise.” He then walked back into the hallways before everyone in the room began to cry and reach out to make sure my grandmother was alright.

After that dream, for some reason, I knew that my grandpa was in a better place, and while I was still sad and mourning the loss, I was no longer worried about where he ended up. He gave us his word that he was alright and I will always believe him.

Uploaded on 06.04.2020 by El Paso Museum of History

Central / Downtown, (2020 - 2029), Cultural Heritage

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