Roy Wilbur (RW), Alexis Buss (AB) and Larry Buss (LB)
AB: When I asked Dad what Sonja ought to call him, he instantly said ‘Poppop’ but Roy, you said ‘Oh, she’ll just call me what she calls me.’
RW: Well, I spent 27 years of my life being referred to as a ‘step-other’
AB: And step-other was just a play on stepmother.
RW: An endearing, exactly. And early on, she could call me her grand-other.
AB: Which I thought was kind of funny because I thought inevitably she would just call you Roy because well we call you Roy.
RW: Well, I am a Roy, and she is young and she doesn’t know the difference, you know, having a Poppop and a Roy as opposed to having a Poppop and a grandma. And so to hear her say Poppop and Roy just sort of reemphasizes the fact that we are a couple and that means a lot to me.
AB: I think that’s the great thing about her being so close to you two is that your relationship is great and with Sonja, you know you’re her closest grandparents and so I’m glad to have that example. I wanted to ask you about a bonding moment you had with Sonia when your father was sick and in his last days.
RW: Yeah, my relationship with my father wasn’t really that good because he had a lot of problems accepting me and accepting Larry. And so when he got sick, I just didn’t find myself grieving and I knew he was dying, but I just couldn’t cry. Sonja was three months old and Larry was holding her and she just started crying. I took her outside and I just started rocking her back and forth and she fell asleep. And I found that when she fell asleep after she stopped crying that’s when I start crying. And it’s like she allowed me to grieve for my father and was reminded of everything he had done for me over my life despite the feelings he had for me at that time. And the whole cycle of life sort of came to mind, you know? Here she was a little three month old and my father was a 77 year old man who, within three days, would be gone. You know, I am not her biological grandfather, Larry is but at that moment, feeling the warmth of her body and the little sobbing, you know the little tears, it almost felt like she was.