Not A Gangster #ThrowbackThursday

This is not a gangster. This is my grandfather. Yes, I know that a feller can be a gangster AND a grandfather, but this one wasn’t.

Not A Gangster

Not A GangsterThat’s George Kelly Leister, my mother’s father. Pretty snazzy, yes?

He was born on the 4th of July in 1910 and passed away on the 4th of June in 2005. He must have worked all the devilment out when he was young, because he was the sweetest, funniest, kindest, most compassionate person I ever knew.

He used to make up stories to teach me lessons like Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street. He played Store with me for hours on end. When Mom came out with that old standby, “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” he said, “She already has something to cry about, or she wouldn’t be crying.” He shaved off his mustache because I didn’t like it. Animals adored him; he could train any dog, and the biteyest cat would sit in his lap and purr.

He took over the shopping and cooking when my grandmother had a heart attack, and never stopped until he just wasn’t capable. He and I went grocery shopping together and swapped recipes.

He wasn’t perfect. But I’m not going to tell you any of his imperfections, because they were imperfections of youth and he outgrew them.

His last words were probably, “Thank you.” Either that, or a joke.

I would say that I miss him, except I don’t. You can’t miss somebody who’ll always be with you.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about somebody you’ve lost but haven’t lost. If that’s too close for comfort, write about somebody your main character still holds in their heart.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Not A Gangster #ThrowbackThursday

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 18, 2014 at 7:07am

      I know! It’s so funny to look at this picture and know the sweetheart he became. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. Jane

    September 18, 2014 at 9:14am

    A very dapper gentleman, indeed.

    My grandfather Peyton was a pain in the ass, silent, a bit surly, and he spit tobacco juice at us when we passed by the porch where he was sitting.

    My grandfather Johnson was a bigamist. He took Granny literally as a child bride. She was 13 when Mom was born. Had six kids. Then he went off and had six more with somebody else. Mom had a sense of humor about it (later), and the other six uncles have proved to be nice guys.

    Oh, well.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Pierre Laberge

    September 19, 2014 at 8:04am

    He looks a bit like Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) in the Sound of Music.

    NB: My dad had a similar outfit when he was young!

    I think any decent man looked a bit like that back then. It was “The Look”….


    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 19, 2014 at 8:39am

      I think you’re right, Pete, on both accounts, though I never caught the Plummer resemblance until now! This would have been the late 1920s or early 30s, and that look would have been “in”. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
      • Pierre Laberge

        September 19, 2014 at 8:46am

        Yep, he looks a bit terse and serious. He’s just defeated Rolf and Company, and the Von Trapp Family is headed over the alps. He probably has a book deal lined up…. So he is not unhappy, because he knows he’s gonna win.

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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