Grandpa Smiling

Taylor Albert Duncan with Wally, Bob, Tad, and Steve, 1950

This is a rare are the pictures of Grandpa [Taylor] smiling. Here are a few special memories I have of Grandpa: his giggle (believe or not); he would say “wishee” every time he sneezed; and watching Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, and other classic TV series with him.

We lived with Grandma [Virginia] and Grandpa for six months when we were back in the USA on furlough [1960/1961].

written by Sandy Moyer (Betty’s daughter) in response to the above photo, which Colin Duncan (Bob’s son) posted on Facebook, February 23, 2010

In the picture, I see many stories. But first Grandpa, or as I knew him it was Dad. I think the picture of him smiling was not the image that I recall most. I was born when he was 52 years old, my mother was 40 years old, and I was indeed unexpected, delivered by caesarean section and an addendum to his seven prior children. I remember dad as a stern disciplinarian, who was often not at home because he was teaching at the Bentley College, now Bentley University. I was simply the child that came along after my mother’s gynecologist said, “You will have no more children!” Never trust a doctor!!!

Two of the children before me were half siblings and the other five were all older than myself. In the picture, I was the smallest, about ten years old if the number “50” in the corner of the picture represents 1950. Lee, in her nurses graduation uniform, is pictured beside the sofa. Dad, or Grandpa, was posing for a photographer, which was Wally’s friend, a colleague from the Gordon College where he was attending.

Wally, being the older of the boys in our immediate family, was more of a role model that was my occasionally-home father. It was his craftiness that I emulated and even some of the harebrained ideas. Sometimes we called that vision! Anyway I got it. Wally was away at college frequently in Boston, where Gordon College was situated at that time. He always had some idea or project and I admired that. He started the youth work called Crusade for Christ and it was at those meetings where Betty and Harley met; that eventual marriage was not his idea though.

Bob was born after Betty, who was not in the picture at all. As I recall Bob, the most outstanding memory is that he spent time with me to help me learn some—believe it or not—Latin and some other subjects. It never seemed like he was caught up in crazy projects, which I was to emulate, but a lot more serious in study and learning. He was always fun.

TAD (Taylor Albert Duncan, “Junior”) was the next sibling in line and closest to my age. As I recall, in his younger years he was a good student and a good worker, earning more money than the rest of us. He had more tools and better tools and we competed between us, even though there were only two and a half years separating us. I was always a little tag-along and unfortunately, frequently, especially in the younger years, a crybaby. He was a challenge for me and I always thought him smarter than I was. I thought of him as being the one who did things in the nonconventional way, but he was there in school with me.

Dad was proud of his boys but sometimes we tried his patience. The smile could have been for many reasons. That was my Dad.

added by Steve on November 26, 2012

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • What do you remember about Grandpa/Dad?
  • What do you recall of his sons Wally, Bob, Tad/Junior, and Steve at those ages?
  • What was happening to you in 1950?
  • What house was this photo taken in?
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