Friday, August 14, 2009


I don't have many solid memories of my grandfather.

I remember he usually wore a suit and tie. I remember sitting on his knee and feeling the slippery scratchiness of his wool jackets and breathing in his aftershave scent. He would bring ziploc bags full of pink gum, raisins, and cracker jacks when he visited us. When we visited him he would give me Bugles, and I would slip them over my fingers and wiggle them about before eating them. He took me to the zoo and I fed the giraffes leaves I found on the ground. He took me to McDonald's and I would always order a cheeseburger just ketchup. He taught me to draw little Vs to represent birds in flight. He gave me five dollar bills slipped into a fancy card for birthday presents. He took us to Dairy Queen after school Christmas programs. I loved him fiercely.

When he died I was 8, he was 85. He died of bone cancer about a month after his diagnosis. We thought he was going to get better at first, but he never did. I drew Get Well Soon cards for him and my mom and I would see him in the hospital in the evenings. At his wake I wrote him a letter and my mom tucked it into his jacket pocket, and I have repeated that ritual for other loved ones several times since. His death brought relatives to town that I had never met before: my uncle Jack, my cousins Tony and Mark. I keep a picture of grandpa and me on my bookshelf - I'm just a baby and I'm looking him right in the eye. We're both bald. I like to think I loved him even then.

1 comment:

Hilary said...

This made me cry. It was a beautiful memory of that sweet grandpa. I too remember him fondly. I remember his little change purse that he would squeeze together the sides and it would open. The plastic one. He would take us to Long John Silvers. I loved sitting on his lap too or grandma's and listen to them say their rosary. I had no idea what they were saying but I just loved to be near them. I remember grandma taught me that there was a difference in cucumbers. And that if you peeled them from one end they would taste bitter but if you peeled them from the other end they wouldn't. I forgot which end was which. Thank you for sharing your memories. I loved the trip down memory lane. Can I use this piece for my class? :-) xoxoxo