My Granddad

James Arthur Groves was born on December 27, 1929. An identical twin, he spent much of his life trying to distinguish himself from his brother, Norman Charles. My great-aunt Marion once told me that one of the twins had been dropped on his head as a child, only no one was entirely sure which twin it had been. My grandfather was adamant that it had been Norman; however, a series of X-Rays my grandfather endured while in his early 70s had solved the mystery and found this not to be the case. 

I first met James Groves in November of 1984. We bonded over a shared genetic history and our mutual love of naps. A constant over-achiever, I cemented my place in his heart when my first distinguishable word was “Granddad.” Perhaps this is an appropriate time to mention that I had a slight speech impediment until the age of four and spoke so quickly that very few people ever actually knew what I was saying. 

But I digress.

Those around him saw James Groves as a philanthropist and a socialite. He had been the President of the Hamilton Philharmonic and of the Hamilton Scottish Rite. He attended all of the right functions and had friends in all of the right places. That said, very few of those people knew the same man that I knew. 

They never met the man who decided a wonderful family tradition would be for all the grandchildren, at every special occasion, to gather round and watch Alice in Wonderland on the television.

To this day, I have nightmares about the Jabberwocky (see above video at around 2:28). Sure, now I can tell that it’s a person in a relatively unconvincing costume, but, from the time I was two just up until I turned twelve (which was coincidentally when someone finally hid the VHS tape my grandfather had recorded the show on to), I found the whole thing incredibly traumatizing.


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