My inspiration to be the best person I can is because of his influence on me. The man who had been through hell and back but still had a smile on his face every time I saw him. Forced to be a man at 7, his goal was always to be successful. He reached that and supported every person he ever felt he let down. Bravery, perseverance, and endless love describe my Grandpa Robert Helmuth. Growing up in the Great Depression in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 7 brothers and sisters wasn’t easy.
His father dying at age 6 from being overworked in a textile factory, did everything he could to support his family. My grandfather admired him greatly and wanted to be just like him. His told me stories about eating nothing but a small piece of welfare stale bread just to get something in his stomach to push through another day.
With his 2 older brothers going into the army because there wasn’t any other option, my great grandmother, was to say the least, distressed at the loss of 2 sons and husband to a profession guaranteed with an awful outcome.
My grandpa promised her he would support her and get them out of this awful depression. He took to jumping trains and finding small paying manual jobs to get a piece of bread or cheese and some money to send back to his mom. He was only 9, it’s hard for me to even understand the drive he had at that age. The love he had pushed him, he wouldn’t give up like so many had.
When FDR became president he made programs for boys like my grandpa to work and build train tracks making money to send back to their parents. This was a life saver for my grandpa and he would constantly tell me how thankful he was, and that he wouldn’t of been here if it wasn’t for that.
Things looked up after that blessing, he learned construction and became a very successful builder around the La Jolla area. His family grew up comfortably, his very dream, and he built a house for his mother to live in at the end of the struggle. Through the extreme hardships and living with the memories throughout his life he never failed to sneak me an oatmeal cookie and laugh about it. He had the heart to go to Build-A-Bear and make me a bear before my flight came into California just for a smile. He told his stories and to me they always seemed fake, like nothing that bad could happen to that great of a person. My Grandpa has since passed but I was always admire him greatly, and to be honest, not one day pasts where I don’t think about him. I love you Grandpa.