He spent time in Hong Kong after World War II assisting with restoration.
He’s allergic to honey bees.
As a child I told him I loved him, and he would always reply, “I love you more.”
These are the things I know about my grandfather.
Up until a few weeks ago, I thought I knew his story.
It wasn’t until he and my father were discussing how they might fit a grossly oversized piano through the smaller-than-average door of the guest bedroom that I realized how little I knew of him.
I was very happy to see the piano go.
It only served as a reminder of an unfulfilled prepubescent dream. Sort of like those basketball shoes I haven’t worn since the ninth grade.
Somewhere between the piano crashing into the wall and my father yelling that it was all my fault and why didn’t I just start taking lessons again, my grandfather said he had once worked in a piano factory.
I’ve known him 19 years and I’m pretty certain I’m his favorite grandchild. And I didn’t know he had ever worked at a piano factory.
Just like that, I began to wonder if I really knew my grandfather or if I had just been kidding myself all these years.
It wasn’t until after the piano at last made its exit that I let my mind wander back to what he had said.
Since then I have wondered what else I don’t know about him.
Throughout the course of this semester I have met many Western students.
Some said they didn’t have a story.
Some knew exactly what their story was.
Others had to think about it a while.
I wrote their stories. Sometimes I think I did OK, and other times I think I missed the mark.
Despite my dissatisfaction with the constant scheduling of photographs and incessant introductions, I learned pretty much what I think most “What’s Your Story” columnists have learned: everybody has a story.
Sometimes people agree to be interviewed and then they decide they don’t want to talk. And others worry that their story isn’t good enough.
I’ve learned that their story is good enough. And that people really are beautiful just because they’re people.
This week sit down with your family and instead of pretending to listen to them, really listen.
Hang out with old high school friends and see if anyone has done anything interesting since graduation.
Discover the beauty of the human story over your Thanksgiving break.
I’ll be chatting with my grandfather.
Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]