Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Parent of the Week: Grandpa Joe

The Grandpa Joe we all know and love, from Mel Stuart's
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (played by Jack Albertson)

Not my Grandpa Joe- I’m talking one Charlie Bucket’s Grandpa Joe- you know, from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This was, hands down, my favorite book as a child and if there was ever a campaign for fictional grandfather of the year, I would nominate Grandpa Joe.

If we overlook the fact that all four of Charlie’s grandparents slept in the same bed (can we overlook that? Do it for Grandpa Joe, people), Grandpa Joe is the quintessential perfect grandfather. Think about it:

1. In the movie, Charlie didn’t have a father (in the book, he did). We don’t know why. I always just assumed he died. But every time Charlie came through the door, Grandpa Joe was waiting with a smile and a listening ear. He was the male role model Charlie needed and Charlie embraced him.

2. Grandpa Joe was fun, the way grandpas are supposed to be. He snuck chocolate. He danced around the shared family bed (I guess I can’t quite overlook it) and freaked out the other grandparents. He put on his coat and hat over his pajamas.

3. He supported Charlie and let him lead. Grandpa Joe let Charlie make decisions in the Chocolate Factory about where to go and what to do- in fact, he encouraged it! Now, this got them into teeny, tiny bits of trouble (and by teeny, tiny bits, I mean very large amounts- which they slyly dodged and neatly resolved by the end of the story) at the Chocolate Factory.
Grandpa Joe and Charlie (from Roald Dahl's
book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

So today, we honor you, Grandpa Joe. As a child I danced around my own bed singing ‘I’ve Got a Golden Ticket!’ and read my paperback copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover to cover until it was bent from wear. Current and future grandparents- take a lesson from Grandpa Joe: be available, be fun, and be supportive.


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