Oliver Hardin was born to Floyd and Golda (Lune) Hardin on April 27, 1912 and died on July 28, 2001.
Oliver had no middle name. I always knew him as “Grandpa Shady.” Why Shady? I found out that as a young man he joined the Navy. When he signed up they needed a middle name for his records. Since he didn’t have one, he made one up. He called himself Oliver Shadrach Hardin. Hence the name Shady.
During the Great Depression, Shady was working at a restaurant where he met a young lady named Dorothy Nelson. They married after a short courtship. I imagine life was very hard for them back then. I know that one of the ways they earned money was by running a boarding house. My grandmother would cook and clean for people who rented rooms from them. Many years later, I know that Grandpa drove a truck for DC Trucking. Grandma worked for May D&F (or as she called it, the May Company.)
One of my favorite memories is thinking about how much my grandparents loved each other. They were never far away from each other, and their love was very obvious to everyone. Sometimes I would see them connecting their pinkies as they sat next to each other. Inevitably my Aunt Becky would say, “They’re having pinky sex!” I always found it to be a sweet, loving gesture.
And so begins my heritage as I know it. Shady and Dorothy had 4 children: Barbara (my mom), Beverly, Robert and Becky.
I adored my Grandpa Shady. He reminded me of Popeye the Sailor Man in some ways. He was a sailor… he had tattoos… and he loved to smoke a pipe. Oh, and his bark was much worse than his bite. He loved to rub his unshaven face on our cheeks and give us whisker burns, though it was all in fun.
His very favorite things in life were his wife, children and grandchildren. His hobbies included gardening, camping and fishing. I remember many camping trips with Grandma and Grandpa. He was the one who taught me to fish. Grandpa and Grandma always had a little garden in the back yard for the grandkids to help in. That’s probably where my love of gardening comes from!