A memory in tile

I barely remember my Grandpa Ben.  My few fleeting childhood memories of my paternal grandfather involve my riding in a little baby stroller as he pushed me around the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.  Unfortunately, he passed away while I was still a toddler, so my memories of him are few and far between.

Last year, my Aunt Elaine – who operates the Golden Past Antiques emporium in Wolfeboro, N.H. – filled me in on many aspects of my Grandpa Ben’s life.

That was all well and good… until something happened the other day.

I’ve been chronicling the eventual demolition of a Schenectady building, getting photos of the structure before the wrecking balls arrive.  Whether it’s an iconic water tower or an abandoned Albany church, I want to capture these buildings with my cameras and with my film, and hopefully preserve these structures in one way or the other.

Now I did a little research on the building – apparently at one point in time, it was a mom-and-pop department store owned by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Miller.  No relation.  “Miller” is one of the most common Anglo-Saxon surnames, so it’s no surprise that I would come across that name in my research of the building.

Okay, I got a good picture of the building with one camera, now I’m going to head back to the car and get another camera – hey wait a minute…

What’s this?

When the demolition workers cleared out some of the building fixtures, they removed a rubber entrance mat.  And under the entrance mat…

Was this tile inscription.


Now for most people, this would be a simple coincidence.  Which is fine.

Or… I could equate this as maybe my grandfather, fifty years since his passing, sending me a quick little message, letting me know he’s still keeping a lookout for me.

You know… sort of like fellow blogger Gina Peca feels whenever she sees a ladybug – a reminder of her beloved daughter Catie.

Sometimes in our world, when we feel like we’re not always on the right path, or when we feel lonely and confused, it’s nice to know that there’s a subtle message – even if it’s just a similar name to one from the past – to help to feel that things will be okay.

And I’ll take that any day of the week.

Thanks, Grandpa Ben.

And thanks to Mr. Ben Miller as well.