MIAGD: Grandpa CooCoo

MIAGD: make it a great day

“Grandpa CooCoo? Why’d you call that old man that name?”

Standing in front of Leesons Department Store in Elwood, painting windows for the Panther Band’s trek to the Indiana State Fair, fellow band member, Phil Lynch, chastised me for calling an old man, “CooCoo.”


It was one of my favorite terms of affection for this adorable man, and his wife, who passed away in 1969 when I was four and one half years old. 

When I was a baby, Grandpa Garrett would carry me to his hanging cuckoo clock, wind it so the bird would make an appearance, and he would echo the sound. 

Grandpa Garrett with my mother


As I learned to talk, it was only natural that my great grandparents, John William Garrett Clary and Mary Belle Jones Clary, would affectionately be dubbed Grandpa CooCoo and Grandma CooCoo.

I explain the story to Phil who seemed to pardon me after learning the facts. 

Grandpa Garrett holding my mother who is pulling her Aunt Joyce’s hair

John William Garrett Clary was born just outside  Elwood Indiana on August 31, 1898, The fourth son of John William Clary and Mary Frances Noble Clary.

Of all my great grandparents, I knew this great grandfather more than the others since he lived only a few blocks away after retiring from farming in 1966.

Garrett & Belle Clary with their daughters

Garrett & Belle Clary with their daughters


Great grandparents, for the most part, or generally quite older and not as much fun. That definitely was not the case in my life. 

Grandpa Garrett was never one to shirk practical jokes, a good laugh, a good story, and even a playful wrestling match.  You could not stand within a few feet of Grandpa Garrett without him poking you, initiating a playful round of wrestling.

The Grandpa CooCoo stories are timeless, and endless.  He was a treasure, and an inspiration for role modeling how to live a full, generous life, abundant in laughter and fun!

Happy birthday, Grandpa CooCoo!

Grandpa CooCoo & Grandma CooCoo


Family Genealogy:

  1. Darin Jolliffe-Haas
  2. Diana Barmes Haas
  3. Donna Clary Barmes
  4. John William Garrett Clary

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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