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by Lorna McLaughlin
My grandfather was sent to a polish prison camp at the start of World War Two. He was a Scottish soldier fighting on foreign soil. He was gone 6 years.
He left when my mother was 6 and returned (thankfully or not depending on who you were) when she was 12. He was damaged and made their life hell. I don’t have a lot of memories off him in my early years. We lived away and I think only visited out of duty. He was the strict man who lived with my grandmother.
When they followed us to Australia, he got a job working for the Doncaster council in the gardens. I think it healed him to a certain extent. I used to work in the shopping centre in that area and sometimes on my way home I’d happen to be driving behind that council truck. My grandfather and all the other workers would smile and wave madly. As did I in return. He had told them all I was his granddaughter.
I’m glad I had that memory. I’m glad my grandfather could have a memory of a wave and smile from the back of a truck as apposed to the memory of sitting in the back of a truck on the way to a prison camp.
All the Grandfathers out there allow your grandchildren memories. Spend special moments with them. And for those of us lucky enough to have grandparents. Please create a memory. You don’t know what they’ve been through. Maybe you were lucky and they did share. And most importantly if you see someone who looks like they need it. Just give them a smile.