Grandfather, T. P. Chandler, by RMC Jr.

son of Alfred Dupont Chandler and Mary Merrill Poor

Grandfather, T. P. Chandler, by RMC Jr.

Postby Roger Chandler » 2009-03-25 11:23:18

It is good that we have stories or I would not really know my grandfather, T. P. Chandler, even though our paths did cross. I have been told that Grandfather would visit when I was very small but too young to remember. Not long after, slowed down by advancing age he took residence at what we now might call senior assisted living. It was or had been a home in a very nice section of Washington, D.C. where there were lots of trees along the streets. Being only two hours from Southern Maryland my father (RMC) would take me sometimes when he would visit. I was still too young to sit still without squirming but would do the best I could at the foot of the bed setting on a what might have been a hope chest. Grandfather looked frail and was always resting in bed when we were there. He once said with some pride that he had been on a long walk that morning and I secretly hoped that we could take a walk on a future visit. Thinking of Grandfather on a walk was a bit of a stretch of my imagination but he did give specifics as to the route and how far, so I believed him. I could feel the love between Grandfather and Dad but the formality of their conversation prevented a lot being said at one time. Dad would always pull a chair up close and did not mind sitting still.

My memory is a little fuzzy but his was a respectable-sized single ground floor room with the double bed between two nice sized windows with elegant curtains. Everything in the room was in perfect order and extra clean. Even the bed with its extra blankets always in use looked almost as if they were ironed after Grandfather got in. A framed old fading photograph close to the head of the bed fascinated me and Grandfather's face lit up as he explained that it was of his cavalry unit during WWI and which officer he was. They were all mounted on their horses with hats and swords and in a line facing forward. I could not see any resemblance but I was proud. He also kept on his night stand what I now know was his pocket barometer.

T. P. Chandler had the good fortune to be born when the Chandlers were still in high finance. Summers at the Lake Sunapee Yacht Club would be full of young ladies and I am sure some might have had an eye on the handsome and young "Trot" Chandler during their "coming out". Unfortunately a reversal in the family's finances left the young man, raised as a gentleman, with little to offer. The war to end all wars found this young cavalry officer ready for action but his assignment placed him far from harms way. It was during this period that he found a bride. The soon to be wealthy heiress, Sarah G. Chase, was able to provide the means for the young family to live very comfortably.

A house "in town" [Boston], a summer home on Lake Sunapee, and a modernized farm in Walpole were all furnished so travel between them needed only a light travel case. Servants and hired hands were always available and often full time. My father was the youngest of four. Sadly Grandfather's training as a gentleman was not complete and his marriage ended in a time when divorce was not common. As it was not the custom for parents to trouble young children with the complexities of adult life, my father now ten was without an explanation and prevented by convention to ask.

Romance re-entered TPC's life and for a time two sisters were married to two brothers. His new bride also had children from her prior marriage and it was they that were birthright heirs. For a time TPC took his turn managing his mother-in-law's rice plantation on the South Carolina coast. It was during this time that WWII heated up and would unexpectedly change his life. Being alarmed after rumored U-Boat sightings, TPC was among those who formed an armed nighttime citizen patrol using their personal boats. Well, one night they happened upon a US Coast Guard patrol doing the same thing and both were quite surprised. Not wanting to loose the volunteers but needing the safety of knowing where their patrol was, the citizens were told to report the next day and be sworn in. Grandfather was now a member of a small group who served in active duty in both world wars. Their patrols must have been a good deterrent. Though ready they did not have to defend our shore.

The second world war ended about the same time as TPC's second marriage. Again without wealth he determined a course to financial independence as a school teacher. His self support began as being active duty made him eligible for the GI Bill. His way was made a little easier as South Carolina did not recognize divorce and he was forced to accept the higher "married" stipend. A plus during this year was developing a bond with RMC while they both attended the University of South Carolina. In his surplus jeep with family coat of arms painted on the hood and the top off, he was in his glory teaching celestial navigation to his son. I think it was during this time that Dad forgave Grandfather for scaring him half to death during horse riding lessons.

Henderson, North Carolina provided employment for several years. I need help in learning where Grandfather went after his short teaching career. Although Grandfather never seemed to connect with a lifetime career or relationship, he was always himself. He remained a gentleman to the end.

Roger M. Chandler Jr.
March 25, 2009
Last edited by Charles Chandler on 2009-04-04 02:40:07, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: spell checked
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