How Small the Big City Is
Story of Manchester – How small the big city is
By Robert Kanehl
Growing up, in my mind, my father overshadowed my grandfather. I felt this way for two reasons: my father was a successful, well-respected businessman in the community whom everyone seemed to know. The second was that my father was a mistake. His parents were in their fifties before he was born, so my grandfather died before I could remember.
As a boy, I was always addressed as George's son. As a young man, I continued to be George's son until one day, when I received my first grandfather's reference.
While working on a story for the newspaper, I came to the town hall. The records I needed on local elections were in the town clerk's vault. Before going to the vault, I stopped to introduce myself to the Town Clerk.
This was not unusual for me; as a reporter for various papers, I had always maintained a good relationship with multiple town clerks. I had also known the previous Manchester clerk, Ed Tomkiel. He had been one of my father’s friends, and I had coached his son in soccer.
Looking up from his desk, the new town clerk smiled as I said my name.
"You're George's son, right?"
Nodding was my answer, unsurprised by the connection. It was one that many adults made when I introduced myself. I even continue to this day, introducing myself as George’s son.
"But more importantly, you're F. William's grandson, the clerk continued, recognizing my last name. The surprise on my face caused Town Clerk Joe Composeo’s smile to widen. "I knew him too," he explained. "You see, when my family first came to Manchester, your grandfather gave us a place to live.
He stood and extended his hand.
"Any than I can do to help you, just ask."