When I was six years old, my maternal grandfather was shot and killed in a robbery in his small grocery store in St. Louis. What I remember about this sad incident was finding my mom crying in her bedroom and wondering what was wrong. I later learned about my grandfather’s death from my mother.
What makes the story even sadder is that my mom was estranged from her parents because she married my dad, who was Catholic. She came from an Orthodox Jewish family. Her mother could not accept her marriage choice and refused to see her. My grandfather was able to secretly see my mom a few times before his death, along with a visit to meet my sister and me. I don’t remember this visit but felt his loss as I learned more about him. He emigrated here from Russia as a young man to escape enforced conscription. His marriage to my grandmother, who was 20 years younger, was arranged. He was self-taught and gave my mother her love of literature and reading. He was also a very kind man who loved his daughter. I wish I could have known him.