Yesterday I spent the day wandering the buildings of North Pacific Cannery. North Pacific is a museum and National Historic site just outside of Prince Rupert BC. The cannery has been kept up and opened for the public (in the summer) to come and take in the exhibits and the cannery grounds as they used to be. I've been coming to NP since I was a little girl and I've always loved it. I used to come here with grandparents mostly so it was a little different to be wandering the grounds on my own. My grandparents used to be a constant narration in the background of cannery stories. My mother took her first steps at North Pacific Cannery and my grandfather although he did not work at this particular cannery im sure had to work in and around the site. The old office at the museum is set up with old typewriters, radios, operator knobs and buttons just how it would have been in 30's or 40's. North Pacific has a road from Prince Rupert now but this road wasn't put in until 1959. Before that it was radio and telegraph and post to communicate. However, the office has a different sentiment for me. The office reminds me of grandfather through and through. He's still alive but just a little stooped old man with a poor memory and a very different disposition remains.
Im very found of my grandfather. He's not your typical grandfather I suppose. He's not warm and affectionate. He did tend to my scrapes and bruises but it was with Iodine not hugs and kisses. He was still working until quite recently in his business doing income tax work for fisherman. Most of my memories of my grandfather are of him as a business man. He was a big fish in a little pond in Prince Rupert. People knew who he was (and I think some people were quite afraid of dealing with him). Every once and a while i get stories filtered in of what a snappy, harsh business man he was. Nothing slipped on his watch. (except of course the time Oceanside cannery burned down when he was managing). I used to sit on the other side of his great wooden desk next to his file cabinets playing on his underwood. He was my grandfather and I loved him. He was always there for me whatever I needed. Things fixed or built or my taxes done, anything I could ever need he could provide. In some respects he helped in place of my father who was always away.
But that man I knew and loved and relied on is gone now. Not physically gone. My grandfather is still alive. But mentally gone. He is a shell of what he once was. A frail little man who asks me the same questions over and over. He can't do much on his own anymore. His once commanding presence gone.
We all get old however, to see some people degrade so much is hard. People who have known my grandfather their whole lives shake their heads in disbelief when they see him. They can't even believe its the same man.
He is similar to the old canneries he used to manage. Just a shell of what was once there.
He is my grandfather and I love him.