Nearly 50 Years Later, Roger Grigg ’70 Pays Tribute to an Old Friend

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What He Remembers about Daddy-O

We recently shared a photo that referenced the kitchen in the old shelter, which was ran by Daddy-O. The memories came flooding back for Roger Grigg ’70, who shared these thoughts:

"When you ask me about Daddy-O, you are asking me to go back nearly 50 years! I pledged in 1966 and graduated in 1970. So, I ask my brothers to forgive me if my memory is incorrect.

Daddy-O or ‘The Old Man’ as we also called him was the cook at the shelter when I lived there my sophomore and junior year. The shelter was torn down after the spring trimester in 1969, and a new shelter was constructed over the summer. It left about a thousand cockroaches homeless. The Old Man retired rather than break in a new kitchen. He was not in the best of health and suffered from uncontrolled diabetes.

I can say I don’t remember a ‘special meal’ although we did have steak night once a month. Everyone came for that. The food was always good and few complained. 

But what we all remember was the time we had in the kitchen with The Old Man. He was there early to cook made-to-order breakfast as everyone left for classes at different times. He would be there preparing for lunch and dinner. We would sit at the table in the kitchen and talk while he cooked. My roommate Bill Brock and I were both from Circleville, Ohio, home of the Pumpkin Show, and The Old Man would start talking to himself. It went something like this ‘Yeah, I think I am going to retire soon, buy me a small farm over in Circleville and grow pumpkins,’ and on and on until he got a reaction out of you and then he would laugh, no cackle. It was hilarious. 

The kitchen was on the south end of the shelter, and the window over the sink looked out onto Tallawanda. When you were walking back to the shelter and The Old Man saw you coming, he would tap on the window and when you looked at him he would give you the bird and laugh. 

One other great memory was when someone else in the kitchen started in with some story about what they were going to do and what was going to happen. The Old Man would slowly say 'Seein’ is believin’.' He didn’t have much time for BS. 

So, my memories of The Old Man are not of great food or desserts or anything like that. They are memories of a person I thoroughly enjoyed. He was a one of a kind and he was a friend. Right before I graduated, I went by his house to visit. He had lost a foot to diabetes, but even with that he still had his laugh. Here I am fifty years later, and I can still see him flipping me off and howling with laughter. I will never forget him. He was a truly great guy, and we all thought the world of him."