As you may already know if you are a regular reader of Hank-And-Jane-IRL, Erik and I started dating in December of 1999. That first month, he invited me to his grandparents’ house for dinner. At the table sat Erik’s grandparents, Erik’s parents, and the two of us— three generations in one room. My grandparents passed away either before I was born, or very shortly thereafter, so when I joined Erik’s family, I gained a wonderful set of grandparents.
His grandfather, Henry Milford Vick, or Hank as everyone called him, was a hard-working man all his life. Originally, he planned to be a doctor, but then life intervened, and he had to quit school after the 8th grade. He was the son of Norwegian immigrants that settled in North Dakota.
When I met Erik’s grandparents, they had been retired in FL for nearly thirty years. Hank’s sense of humor was famous, as was his talent for impersonations. Hank often told stories, complete with the accents and voices of the stories cast, of his days delivering mail during some of the harshest North Dakota winters, days spent at their lake house, and the seemingly infinite variety of pranks he played over the years.
One of his many exploits as a rural mail carrier involved a patron who had ordered a bunch of tree saplings through the mail. Every day he asked Hank if they had arrived, and every day he wanted to know why they hadn’t. Finally, Hank went out in the vacant plot of land next to the post office and cut several bundles worth of tall weeds, tied them nicely in twine and delivered them to the poor patron.
Erik was extremely lucky to have spent most of his life less than a mile away from him. Erik’s sense of humor comes the years he spent listening to Hank (as well as a healthy dollop from his maternal grandfather, Herbert Meyer, who was cut from the same cloth).
Hank is gone now, and sorely missed by us all. Hank, and the pride, respect, and love Erik feels for his grandfather, is the reason he writes under his whole name—Erik Henry Vick—and the reason why Henry Jensen is called Hank in the Blood of the Isir series. We were lucky enough to have our son meet his great-grandparents and get to know them well.
-Supergirl (joint post with Erik)
I asked Supergirl if she would write a few blog posts about our real lives. We’re calling it Hank and Jane IRL, and if you don’t get the Hank and Jane reference, you need to read Errant Gods 🙂