Charles J. Casper

What does this guy have to do with scarves? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. He’s my grandfather. Beginning on the day I was born, he has been a huge part of my life. He was laid to rest this past week. In memorial I am exploring his influence on my life and work. 
As I stand today I am a product of my surrounding world. While my grandfather was not an artistic man, (he always described himself as an electronics man) there is no doubt he has affected my creative expressions in some way.
My grandfather was just a regular guy, but the details that prove this fact are not the ones that standout in my mind. The things that have lasted in my memories are the things he did that made him unique. He had a bunch of quirky sayings, he had interesting ways of pronouncing certain words, and I think he had a great smile. It is really big and sincere. (This is funny because, in his later years, he was cranky a lot.) I use a lot of his pronunciations and sayings, and I’d like to think that I have a sincere smile myself. These are the things that make each person extraordinary, no matter how ordinary they may seem.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather always supported the different phases of my adolescence. He used to let me borrow his shirts and ties. In fact, I still wear his ties. He helped send me to art school, and even when my paintings were experimentational he always hung them on his walls anyway. This is a shot of the awkward painting he allowed in his bedroom. 
He swore he liked it, but I think it was only because I made it.
When I turned 21 he took the family to his men’s club to celebrate. We drank Coors Light draft and played shuffle board. My grandfather was the only guy there who drank Coors Light draft, and the only one I’ve ever known to bring his family. These Roma Club trips however, ended up as a family tradition. Paying less then $2 for a beer is so nostalgic; and for that matter so are membership fees, a sign-in book for women, and walls with wood paneling.
My grandparents walked me down the aisle at my wedding, and I had my dance with my grandfather. He led me around the floor like a pro. He was an amazing dancer, although the older he got the more he preferred the couch.
My grandfather’s existence celebrated the simplicity of life. You don’t have to have a lot to give a lot. He had pride in himself, where he came from, (Pottstown, PA) his family, his community, and his country.
Like my grandparents, but not because of them, I am living the military lifestyle. I understand what they went through. Being in the Army presents many rare opportunities; good and bad. I give them credit; 40 years ago it was much more difficult to be a thriving military family. I think one of the aspects that they always enjoyed was the travel. I’ll admit to that being my favorite part too. Like my grandfather, my husband enjoys (and is proud of) the fact that it is his job to participate in the protection of the basic rights of humanity and the defense of our great nation.
After writing all this I can clearly see it. He is everywhere in my life. I like working hard. I like being with my family. I love serving my community. I like drinking beer. I love travel. I love to share. I love scrapple. I love Jersey diners. I enjoy watching M.A.S.H. I’m not afraid to admit what I am. I will miss him, but not too much. I have so many great memories, and he helped us build such a great family. I don’t really feel like he is gone.