A Glimpse Into Papa’s Past
“Hi Papa. For English class, we have to interview someone and I was wondering if you would like to be my interviewee?” I asked my grandpa, whom I refer to as Papa.
“Hi Jill! I am delighted that you have asked me to be your interviewee.” replied Papa with a happy tone in his voice.
“Ok great! Thank you so much for agreeing to do it. How about we talk on Sunday? Does that work for you?” I asked him. “Sounds good! Does 1:00 p.m. work?” Papa asked.
“Works for me. I can’t wait to talk to you on Sunday.” I responded.
I set the alarm on my phone for 12:45 p.m. on Sunday so I had time to get my notebook, pencil, and questions organized. I wanted to be prepared for the interview. Papa lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and so we decided to call each other. I don’t think he knows how to Facetime or Skype. Maybe when we go visit him, I can teach him how to Facetime.
Papa, is my mom’s father. So, he is my maternal grandfather. He is one of those magical people in the world, and he is my grandfather which makes me really proud of him. He’s physically fit. He plays tennis three days a week. He has a strong upbeat voice. My mom always says his voice “projects” and when she was growing up, she could always find him in a crowd. He is very social and has a positive attitude about life and the world. He is well educated and still loves to learn to this day. He’s 80 years old. He is in a book group, is a deacon in his church, volunteers every week at his hospital, and loves sports. He is an amazing person!
For the interview, I was sitting in our den. I had all of the doors closed so there were no noises in the background. I didn’t want any distractions. However, I did have a distraction. My cat, Lily. Lily kept jumping up on the table and she was rubbing against my face, which was very distracting. So, I scooted her to the ground. She decided to lay down in the sun and sunbathe. I had my questions out in front of me and a pencil to write down his answers to the questions.
Papa was calling me from his little, old flip phone. He was in his office while we were talking. At first, we talked about how we each were doing, and then we jumped into the interview.
Papa is tall. He has a full head of white hair. He looks distinguished. He has a tiny nose, and his ears are average size. He has a nice set of teeth and a welcoming smile. He has a regular shade of brown in his eyes. He wears his round classes now and then. He doesn’t have that many wrinkles for his age. When he smiles though, he has smile wrinkles. Those are the only ones I notice.
Papa’s voice is very loud. During the interview, he talked at a normal pace and was very easy to understand. He always came up with a quick answer so it was a fast process. Whenever he laughs, he slaps his stomach, tilts his head back, and then laughs with sometimes a high or low pitch. I could picture him doing this during the interview. Papa is a very intelligent man. His grammar is always proper. He also has an incredible vocabulary. Since he was twenty years old, he has written an index card for every book he reads. He records vocabulary words from the book along with a summary of the book. He has a lot of cards. It is amazing. Papa has a great energy about him. People are drawn to him. He makes life fun. My mom always talks about how much fun it was to do errands with him when she was growing up because he always made it a fun time. During the interview he didn’t seem bored. He was very engaged. He got excited because all of his childhood memories were coming back to him. I could tell that brought a smile to his face.
What is your full name, and why were you named that?
Papa’s full name is, Thomas Peter Paige. “Thomas comes from my grandfather.” Papa responded. Then he said, “Paige comes from my father, who sadly, I never knew.”
Did you have a nickname when you were growing up? If so what was it and why were you called that?
Papa remembered three nicknames from back then. The first one was “T.” His buddies would call him that because it was easier than Thomas. The second one was toilet paper. His friends were goofy with him. Also the “t” and “p” stood for toilet paper which were his initials. Lastly, the third one, he was called TP. Like I already said, those were his initials.
What were your 3 favorite childhood memories growing up? Why?
One of Papa’s favorite childhood memories was the morning paper route. He was only 12 years old and he had 110 customers. He would bike on his favorite blue bike to deliver the morning newspaper. “I could ride my bike with no hands, fold the paper, then chuck the paper toward the house.” Papa said. I thought that was talented! His second favorite childhood memory was going to Ogunquit, Maine every summer. He remembered staying in one of the big hotels in Ogunquit. Lastly, Papa’s third favorite childhood memory was scoring a winning goal for soccer when he was a junior in high school. When he told me that, I could tell that he was very proud of this and it was a special moment in his life.
Papa at the age of 12 when he
started his paper route.
What were your Jr. High experiences like?
“You wouldn’t believe this, but I wasn’t a very good student. I didn’t like school at all. I did pass, which was a good thing. I never liked being in the classroom, but I always enjoyed being on the field because of the sports. I really wish I had done well in Jr. High.” Papa responded. When I heard this, I couldn’t believe it. If you ever met him, you would have no idea that he didn't do well in school when he was young. I learned a lot more about Papa when I asked him this question.
After your childhood, did you then go on to college? If yes, where? If no, why?
Papa went to a lot of colleges and earned three degrees. After high school, he went to a college in Springfield, Massachusetts called American International College for four years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree. “After that, I went into the Marine Corps.” Papa said. Later, he went to the University of New Hampshire and earned a Master’s degree. Then, he earned another Master’s Degree in counseling from Boston University. I was shocked to hear this coming from Papa who didn’t focus on education when he was young. He’s is amazing for turning his education around.
Papa in the Marine Corps. Papa graduating from Boston University.
What and where was your first job? Describe a typical day.
“When I was 12 years old believe it or not, I started working in a plant nursery. I could walk to my job which was great. It carried on into the summer on Saturdays and Sundays. The fall was my favorite time because the mums were just spectacular. When it came to holidays, I got to ride in the vans to deliver flowers to people.”
Did you dislike anything about your job? If so, please explain.
Papa didn’t dislike any of his jobs. He is one of those few people in the world who liked all of his jobs. He told me, “I didn’t dislike any of them. I am someone who loved all of my jobs.” I wasn’t surprised to hear this from Papa because he always has the best outlook.
I learned a lot more after interviewing Papa. I wasn’t expecting him to say he wasn’t a good student in school. That was shocking to hear. It made me admire him even more when I thought about how he changed. A fun fact I learned, that I didn’t know before, was that he could ride his bike with no hands, fold the newspaper, and then throw it at the house. I thought that was a really neat trick. Also, an interesting thing I learned about Papa was that he worked at a plant nursery when he was 12 years old. I am very grateful that I had the chance to interview my grandfather. I feel like I know him even better than I did before.