Schiff, are you out there?
Thursday, March 27, 2014 5:00 PM
Our grandpop, Charles Singer, was a storyteller. He served in World War II and showed my brother and I bits of shrapnel that were still embedded in his leg.
But World War II to us was not about blood, gore, guns and bombs. It was not about people killing each other and dying for one's country. It was about Schiff.
Now, Schiff was the stupidest person in the whole world, according to our grandpop. While many kids wanted to turn on their television sets, we only wanted to make our grandpop's lips move and stories come out. We wanted to hear about Schiff, or Dumb Schiff, as our grandpop called him.
We sat for hours captivated by the hilarious situations Schiff found himself in and the wacky things he did while serving in the Army alongside our grandpop. It has been 30 years and for the life of me, I cannot remember exactly a whole Dumb Schiff story but I do remember how hard my brother and I laughed and how we sat eagerly at our grandpop's feet listening to these stories.
As adults, my brother and I ponder that maybe there was no Dumb Schiff.
Maybe these were all things our grandpop did that he was too embarrassed to admit, or maybe there was really a Schiff out there who told Dumb Singer stories to his grandchildren.
Who was Schiff, we often wonder? Where did he live? What was he really like? My grandpop died in 1993 so we never got the chance to ask. But somewhere out there, maybe two other adults smile when they recall their grandpop telling them Dumb Singer stories.
My grandpop talked about other things as well. Not surprisingly, he was the World War II hero, always coming to someone's rescue. We were so proud.
Once, there was a cook who put cayenne pepper in everything and the food was hardly edible. The men didn't know what to do. One day, someone important came to visit the Army camp and our grandpop snuck into the kitchen and poured the whole jar of cayenne pepper into the soup to make it extra hot. When this important person took one bite, his entire face grew bright red and he fired the cook right away.
Another time, one of my grandpop's buddies was preparing for a big date when he suddenly got severe stomach cramps. Luckily, my grandpop was there to rescue him. He made him drink six glasses of freezing water followed by six cups of hot water and as soon as the guy drank the last sip, he ran off to the bathroom where he spent 20 minutes and came out right as rain.
He then went on the date with the woman he would marry and lived happily ever after thanks to our grandpop!
There will never be another person like our grandpop and as kids, we took him for granted. I just hope on the other side somewhere, he knows how fondly my brother and I look back on the magic he created for us at the expense of poor Schiff and that he will always be our hero.
Contact Heather Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.