Arnold Munchalfen died September 13th, 2010. It was a sad time for my mother’s side of the family and we all gathered together at my uncle’s home next door to my mother’s to celebrate and honor his life.
My grandfather had nine children, was the grandfather to twenty one, and, at the time of his death, had twelve great grandchildren. (My oldest son would be his first.) He left a huge heritage to follow in his eighty one years of life. A heritage which still is growing strong and thriving now three years after his death.
Grandpa Munchalfen was a very quiet and reserved man. He didn’t seem to talk much at all. I remember hearing a few stories here and there, but for the most part, he was pretty quiet, at least from my perception of him.
My grandfather loved to work on watches and spend as much time with his wife, who spent their last years cross country in Florida, as possible. Their marriage would last over six decades before he passed. It would leave my grandmother very bitter and broken, as some pieces could be expected.
In my childhood I was given an army shirt with his last name. The day he died, I wore it proudly. For the longest time, I thought that was his. It wasn’t. My grandfather served in the Navy.
Now, I always knew that grandpa had served in the military, but again, he really didn’t talk about it too much either. He was glad that he did it but glad it was long over. He told all of us grand kids that getting a tattoo was the stupidest thing he ever did. (Of course that was one of the things we found coolest about our grandfather.)
I might not be the best person in the family to write this memorial. I was not very close to him. I know that many of my family remembers more of him than I do. It was something that was brought to my attention quite often growing up.
A couple of weeks before he died I did something to start the path to change it. I have sent my other grandparents postcards frequently on my travels around Los Angeles and other places. This time after attending a classical concert in the park, I started to draft a postcard to Grandpa Munch. I had unfortunately forgotten about it, as it would get buried in stacks of papers on my desk. When I returned from his funeral however, I found it.
Today, on Memorial Day, I want to thank Grandpa Munch for his time serving his country. No matter how much I remember of the man aside from that and his nearly always smiling face, today grandpa is your day. Thank you so much for what you did for this country and my mother’s family. Know that you are not forgotten.