Grandpa Carpenter’s 100th

My great grandfather would have turned 100 today. I happened to find this picture last week and was confused when the birthdate on the back was listed as 12-03-08. That was 1908!

The back says:

Donald V. Carpenter
12-03-08 – 5-16-03

In September of 2000 at the Kentucky Speedway he rode in a NASCAR race car. He went four laps at 170 MPH. He was almost 92 years old and the oldest person ever to take a ride from the national company of Richard Petty.

Grandpa Carpenter was always a funny guy, though his life wasn’t always easy. He used to tell stories about growing up around where we lived. Lover’s Lane was where my parents’ house ended up being built and he and his buddies would put red handkerchiefs over their headlights so the necking kids would think the police had pulled up behind them, and then they’d throw water balloons at them in their Model Ts. He recorded his stories to cassette tapes and I imagine them in some recorded history museum sometime.

I think it was Great Grandpa who once bet a family member that he could throw a hat up in the air and shoot a hole in it. My grandpa (his son-in-law) was the unlucky taker of this bet. Someone threw the hat in the air, and he followed its trajectory with his gun, including as it fell to the ground. After it landed he shot a hole in it and won the bet.

He was a baker and his brownies won the Pillsbury Bake Off for professional bakers one year when I was a kid.

I remember four-generation sledding parties for our birthdays with him riding down the hill when he was 77. It was the same hill he had sledded on when he was a kid.

In later years, Grandpa Carpenter was in an assisted living facility. It was called Shamrock Place but he called it The Rock. He loved to have visitors and to go for rides on the St. Joe River in my dad’s boat. We had poker parties for his birthday every year (and they have continued in his memory!).

We miss you, Grandpa Carpenter!

3 thoughts on “Grandpa Carpenter’s 100th

  1. I confirmed and it was indeed Great-Grandpa who shot your Grandfather’s hat with a shot gun just as you described. A few months later, your Grandfather decided it was time for a little payback. Everyone was dressed in suit and tie for a special gathering and your Grandfather walked up to Great-Grandpa with a pair of scissors and cut off his tie at the knot! Great-Grandpa calmly looked down at the pieces of tie on the floor and said, “Gee, I hope you didn’t like that tie. I borrowed it from your closet!”
    I have such wonderful memories of my Grandfather (your Great-Grandpa). He made Xmas come alive when I was a kid. He arrived at our house before dawn exclaiming he saw the lights of Santa’s sleigh just leaving our neighborhood as he was coming to see what Santa left under the tree. He went on every family vacation with us. He liked to give us kids a little spending money for the trip but he didn’t just dole out the money. He played “Let’s Make A Deal”… A 1960’s game show like Deal or No Deal. I never saw him angry or even in a bad mood. My Dad (his son-in-law) always called him “Sunshine” a name that fit him perfectly! We miss you Grandpa. But thanks for the memories! MOM

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