You’ve probably read about the recent death of Winfred Grissom, the “PAPEH!” man who hawked the Times-Standard downtown for so many years. Let me tell you MY Winfred story..

In the early ‘Nineties I was still living in Hawaii and had only started to think about moving back to Eureka. On one trip I found myself driving bayward on F Street near the Greek church when I saw a house with a FOR SALE sign. I slowed down to take a look and realized there was no one behind me so I stopped. After five minutes I realized further that no one was trying to get past me, in fact there had been no other traffic at all. I was impressed, coming from the congestion of Honolulu.

About five minutes later I was driving past the Courthouse when I heard a high screechy voice yelling “PAPEH”. I pulled over to see if there were any houses listed for sale and found I didn’t have any change. “No problem”, he said. I’ll run into you some time”. I had tears in my eyes driving back because in my eleven years in Hawaii, no one had ever trusted me for a quarter. Two days later I made an offer on my house. And I did pay back the quarter. I never knew his name until recently when I read about his being in Alder Bay. I THOUGHT I would go over and see him but I never did and I will always regret it.

Goodbye Papeh man. You will be remembered.


  1. This is the kind of reward I get from fixing my email spam thing once again, as I do every time it for some reason starts reacting to your missives.

    I had to really think whether the voice I heard again was real, you wrote this story so well. But now I am sure. And that’s just how he called it, with a kind of Bostonian-sounding ending.

    Other memories follow; the call of the neighborhood fish vendor, early mornings in Seoul when I taught there. But memories of early life, of home, these are our strongest, intense as life is when you are young.

    And of any age, when you remember how…!

    Thanks, Julie. I really gained from that. On this Eureka-like day, due to ‘June gloom’ which the ocean brings across the once-desert here, a bit more south.

    • Thanks, Clive! Love what you said about memories. Hate to say it, but the smell/taste of Stanton’s Hot Turkey Sandwich is ‘way up there. Also Lazio’s. Food tends to dominate my memories. Hope you have a lazy, pleasant early summer day.

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