For my FaFa, Charles Richard Grey, who told me to ignore the suggested reading list and gave me his favorite Mary Stewart novel instead.
Charles Richard Grey (Rich to almost everyone) was born in California in 1923. He truly was a part of the “Greatest Generation,” volunteering for service in the Army Air Corps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He flew bombers in the South Pacific and returned home to marry my grandmother, Lois. “Chuck and Lo,” as my mom always refers to them, had an amazing love story. Rich even incorporated Lois’s initials into his signature. After his service was over, he attended art school and became a graphic designer. He never got to paint as much as he wanted, especially because he lost his sight later in life, but the paintings of his that we have are treasured.
He was a great dad to my mom and her brother, and an amazing grandfather to me and my brothers. He loved to read, and introduced me to some of my favorite authors. I remember him taking me to the library for the summer reading program when I was thirteen. When they handed me a “suggested reading list” for my age group we both could tell that it was far below my reading level. Instead of sticking with the list he handed me classics like Gone With the Wind and the novels of his favorite author Mary Stewart. Her writing absolutely changed the way my brain frames stories. I have his hardback copies of some of his favorite Stewart novels, with his name inscribed in the front, and I still read those copies.
To dedicate my first book to him seemed like such a small way to pay tribute. I miss him and I wish he could have met my children. Thank you, FaFa, for everything.