“Mr. Esmond Allcock, this is Mr. Esmond Allcock.” On January 26, this elegant gentleman turned 108 years old. He was born outside of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 1910. He is now the oldest man in the country! He is the father of six children, the grandfather of 17, the great-grandfather of 36, and the great-great-grandfather of 12.
He is my great-grandfather, and he is the man after whom I named my son. While most people’s great-grandfathers are faded childhood recollections, I’ve had the privilege of having him in my life for the past 30 years.
One of the stories he used to tell me was about a time when I was the same age as my son. I’d make him hold my hands and parade me around the room while I was learning to walk. I only had to crawl up to him and say, “Walk Walk,” and we’d be on our way. He would remember me as I grew older and refer to me as his “little buddy.”
When I told him I was expecting my first kid, he got on the phone and contacted all of his children to inform them that I was adding to the family. When I was expecting my second child, he told my grandmother that he had 71 descendants and that no one had named their kid after him. My husband and I had planned to name our baby boy after members of our family, and this was the final straw.
On January 11, 2017, my Esmond was born, nearly 107 years after his great-great-grandfather. I loaded up the infant and drove to the next province to meet my great-namesake grandfather’s once the snow had thawed.
He had no idea who I was when we arrived. He was familiar with my grandparents (his daughter and son-in-law), but not with me. I explained who I was, but he was already smitten with Esmond at that point.
He recalled me about halfway through our visit. I used to be the Walk, Walk girl.
‘You don’t know what this means to me,’ he kissed my son’s head over and over as he held him. You have no idea how much this means to me.’
I wish I had the words to express how much it meant to me.
I am fortunate.
We haven’t visited my great-grandfather in a few months, but he frequently inquires about his namesake. She updates him and sends him photos. We’ll be on our way to see him again as the snow melts. Great-great grandfather Esmond, tiny Ez, and the ‘Walk Walk’ girl will be there.”