My grandad supported Ipswich Town FC.
He said he’d been to every game at home
since his teen years in the Nineteen-Thirties.
That was his escape from grief:
his wife, my gran, had died
from meningitis while the German planes
were flattening the Ipswich docks for Hitler.
She was only twenty-seven,
and in those days meningitis killed.
His love for football was how he didn’t join her.
The Tractor Boys were my grandad’s poets,
his rock stars, the actors whose careers he followed.
They made spirit light in bones and flesh
left heavy by the long, hard hours
in the factory at Ransome’s.
A ball struck high and curling past the keeper
had him gaily dancing on his mangled leg
on the terraces at Portman Road each game.
He took me to the ground one day.
It was like a mantle being passed.
‘I was your age when I first stood here,’
he told me, one hand on my shoulder.
As we left, a player that my Grandad knew
from the Fifties in a rumpled suit
called him Fred and shook his hand.
About the Author: Bruce Hodder lives in Northampton, England. He is the editor of the Suffolk Punch Literary Journal, now in its thirteenth year. Recently he has been published in Academy of Heart and Mind, Winedrunk Sidewalk and The Song Is.
Image Credit: “AZ vs Ipswich, 1981” Public Domain Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo
2 thoughts on ““My Grandad” By Bruce Hodder”
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about your Grandad . His was a hard life . Losing his wife at such a young age, touched my heart. Thank goodness he had his team to follow . They became his family and brought him comfort.. Wonderful write 💔 Touched my heart. My Husband passed away at a young age . Our son was only three years old. The saddest part is t.hat my son didn’t remember his Dad but I have worked hard at keeping his Dad’s memories alive.
Thank you Janet. Your words touched me in return. From the little that I know of your son I’d say you’ve done a great job, even though these losses can be terrible.