Rediscovered: Willeford’s Grandfather


And to keep the Willeford train rolling, Michael S. Chong recently popped me a note as he was waiting to go under the knife for some foot surgery — now there’s a serious Willeford fan for you!

To keep himself busy Michael took along two volumes of Willefordian autobiography, I Was Looking for a Street and Something About a Soldier. “Lying on a gurney in a hallway by a washroom,” he reports, “I began reading from the beginning and came across the Grandfather anecdote that I sent you the clipping about” — regular surfers into the blog may recall the bit about how Willeford’s grandfather was cut down by a shotgun.

In the autobios Michael found “a slightly different story” as told via Mattie, his grandmother:

Before she could get pregnant again, a man came into Ed’s office at the plant and killed him with a shotgun while he was seated behind his desk.

The man claimed that Ed had had an affair with his wife, so he wasn’t tried for the murder. But Mattie never believed the man. He was let off, she claimed, because people in Greenville had it in for my grandfather. He was a stranger who had come into town and made a lot of money, and the townpeople resented it.

“So quite a different reason than Willeford gave in the clipping,” Michael notes, “and not as quirky.”

Hard to say today which version would be more truthful, but if Willeford got the chance to spin a yarn, a yarn he could and would spin.

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