Grandpa Alexander was not the type to hug all over and kiss all over you, but my siblings and I knew he loved us; I get warm fuzzies just thinking about him. He was well known in the community for his kindness and his adult-sized tricycle. He would ride it around town in the various communities running errands, mostly, for my grandmother, Adele (Anderson) Summons.
My grandfather migrated to Baltimore around 1946 in search of construction work to continue to support his wife and three sons. Alexander made the trek up to Maryland by himself, then he sent for my grandmother; she left the children in Virginia. Before leaving Virginia grandma sent my one uncle to Philadelphia to live with her sister Ophelia Anderson, and my dad and his brother Carlton Summons were left with my grandmother’s parents James and Cornelia (Anderson) Towles in Goochland, Virginia. After my grandparents secured a place to live they sent for my dad (he was about eight years old) and Carlton, the youngest brother came later to Baltimore.
My encounters with my grandfather were at his home on Duncan Street in Baltimore. Grandpa would give us a loving pat on the head and ask us how we were doing. The conversations were not long since he was either fixing dinner or going outside for a smoke in the backyard. I do not know what possessed us to do this, but we would poke around their house looking for nothing in particular. My grandparents had a homemade bar-stand at the bottom of the steps leading upstairs. In our searching, we found our grandpa’s Lucky Strikes stash. He rushed to instruct us to not tell my grandmother about his hiding place; this makes me chuckle as I think about it.
To a fault, my grandmother kept a clean house. My mom kept a clean house, but grandma’s was SUPER clean. I watched my grandfather prepare himself a plate of food for dinner; he would have to roll back the layers of covering on the dinner table which included the clear plastic and tablecloths. He then had to put newspaper on the table to catch crumbs that fell from his plate. He was so meticulous, grandma trained him well.
Grandpa was much like the rest of my older relatives, they never spoke about family. I had no idea that his father (Monroe) was still living up to 1970.
I had a conversation with my oldest brother about three years ago. I am speaking to him with all this excitement about my ancestry finds, telling him about my great-grandfather Monroe, then my brother breaks in and states that he met him. I look at my brother cross-eyed and asked, “How long have I known you and you are just telling me this?” My brother went with my dad down to Richmond, Virginia to Monroe’s funeral in the summer of 1970.
Grandpa Alexander was the ONLY grandfather I had the pleasure to know because my mother’s dad died in 1954 before I was born. As I look back, Grandpa Alexander died too soon in 1987; I needed more time to get to know such a KIND man.