Edward Gibeau, titan of industry, experimental materials “tester”, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, Marine, gambler, throughout his life my Grandfather donned many a hat. Young children often look at their parents or grandparents with a sense of black and white devotion that usually fades as they age. Your parents are the most amazing people you know when you are small and they keep answering all of your questions. That relationship seldom survives the transition from child (sponge) to adult (combative/self thinking). It is usually a healthy transition; I still consult my mother on many planned (and during the turmoil of unplanned) changes in my life and hold her wisdom and values in the highest esteem. That said I wouldn’t hit her up for advice on a stock purchase or a system upgrade, at 35 she is not the ultimate authority I look to for black and white resolution to all questions. Age has taught me to look elsewhere for some things that fall out of her wheelhouse (and that there are many questions that have no black and white answer). Edward (Grandpa) Gibeau is an odd duck in that regard, as a child I looked at him and saw power. When I was very little he was wildly successful in business, and that success was reflected in the power and authority of the man. As a little person there is immense comfort in knowing that someone close to you is powerful, and my grandfather was. Ed Gibeau had all the trappings of success, cars, an extravagant house, a gigantic boat, HBO, and all the beef jerky a young lad could consume. He usually wore suits and drove a Mercedes, and his property stretched from the bay at one end all the way back to the lake at the other. Jeanne (Grandma) Gibeau had decorated the exterior grounds with what must have been hundreds of gnomes all throughout the woods, and traipsing around as a wee lad the whole damn place felt magical. They were magical, but I am losing my place here. Ed Gibeau took simple things like Easter egg hunts, and added a little magic to them as well. The “Easter bunny didn’t hide hard boiled eggs around his house (who the hell really wants 20+ hard boiled eggs, I never understood that reward system…), the Gibeau Easter involved searching the house inside and out for hidden silver dollars. Colin and I would do the normal egg painting with Grandma and Mom, but the “hunt” involved prey of a different nature. I still have some of those silver dollars, (my father owns the vast majority since I used to turn around and sell them to him when funds were short, but I digress). Magic though, Edward Gibeau created a sense of calm for me as a child, he was power and stability and magic. Many family members gag a bit when I roll out my memories of the man, he excelled at being a Grandfather I have to remind them, and my memories are remarkably sweet. Edward Gibeau jumping into the pool, ruining a perfectly good suit, and a rather expensive watch as his grandson watched from the bottom of the pool doe eyed. He thought I was drowning, I think I was just holding my breath, but for that little child in the pool it was enough to know I had a champion. An unshakable bull of a man, strong, powerful, no nonsense, yet sweet; I had that in my corner, and that was a powerful thing. Ed Gibeau, even after he lost some of that power and shine of success, even after the big business was transmuted into a smaller entity, even after age diminished his gargantuan physical strength, he still represented the same sense of calm for me. He still would have jumped into a pool to pull my arse out at 85. If he popped out of the grave today I would still defer to his business acumen with the same reverence I had as a tot. It takes a remarkable man to imprint you in such a way, and Edward Gibeau was a remarkable man.
Edward Gibeau – Easter memories