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Mendy Smith

When Words Fail

March 10, 2010 at 7:13 AM

John (Buddy) Howard Bradford was born March 21, 1917. He served in the Army during WWI in the Philippines.  After the war was over, he moved back to the ranch in Texas where he met my grandmother Viola (Ollie) Gieble.  They married after she finished high school.  He was a machinist at Reynold's Aluminum (now Alcoa) and retired at the age of 60.
My childhood memories of him are filled with summers at the lake house, learning to ride horses, fix tack and barbed wire fencing, learning to drive tractors and boats, playing competitive dominoes, and learning his craft - machining.  It is from him that I got my early training that inspired my career in manufacturing.  A few years ago he finally gave me his 1927 South Bend lathe and helped me re-assemble it and get it running again.
When I was living in Oregon, he spent the summer with me to supervise my house remodel.  During that time, we developed a nightly routine.  After dinner, he would sit in my music room and waited for me to begin practicing viola.  After I worked on my scales, etudes and Bach Suite, he'd request favorite tunes - Tennessee Waltz, Irish Washer Woman, Cotton Eye'd Joe, and other Western & Southern tunes while his dog sat under the stand listening.
If you look through my music library, you would find a few pieces with a hand-written note at the top marking the passing of a loved one.  On March 9, 2010 my grandfather passed away peacefully with my mother at his side and I marked the Barber quartet Op. 11 Adagio movement. 

Posted on March 10, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Nice story!  Thanks for sharing!

It seems to me that older generations apreciated more music than ours, mainly live music.

I have nice memories of my childhood in my grandfather's workshop too.

From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on March 10, 2010 at 9:52 PM

I love that your grandmother's name was Viola.  Maybe that was part of the reason he loved hearing you play!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 11, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Very sorry! My sympathies and very nice stories too.


From simon lyn
Posted on March 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Mendy - very sorry for your loss. Think it's lovely that you were able to share so much together, especially your music.



From Elinor Estepa
Posted on March 13, 2010 at 7:15 PM

so sorry for your lost Mendy, but such a beautiful story.

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