Granted, Pop was 91. He led a great life. He served in the 2nd World War. He raised his three kids in the same house that he passed in. He loved his 6 grandkids with all he had. He even had 5 great grandkids. The photo I posted yesterday for Wordless Wednesday was from when SweeTart was about a month old. She's now three. (and not so squishy anymore.)
My cousin HK and I are the same age, apart by a few months. I am the older. (She doesn't let me forget it.) For his birthday, she wrote Pop a poem celebrating him. It was awesome. They made copies and handed it out at the funeral Mass today. Some of the memories only include the first 4 grandkids - he used to take us to the park when it was hot (they had a baby pool there to cool off in.) He used to take us to Great Adventure and he went on all of the rides with us!! The Log Flume, the Runaway Train, Roaring Rapids (hell, even Mommom went on Roaring Rapids sometimes it was so hot!!) there wasn't really a ride he would deny us. He would trap squirrels in his backyard (humanely, of course) and we'd go with him to release them in a wooded area not far from their house. Every time we'd ride down the road near the woods with Mommom and Poppop, we'd yell "hi happy, hi happy, hi happy" because he always told us that the squirrels were much happier in the woods than in his backyard (messing with his garden!)
I have foggy memories of going to the boardwalk with him, just to ride the carousel. I remember walking into my Great grandmother's apartment in her later years and him yelling "yoohoo" up the stairs to let Nan and Aunt Hon know we were there (a doorbell? not in the late 70s.) I remember him doing his "softshoe" dance - whenever and where ever - he always seemed so happy. Sitting at his kitchen table, I remember Mommom making me a bacon omelet (which I have never, ever been able to replicate, as much as I try) and having coffee and buttered crackers with Poppop. I remember him teaching us, as soon as we were able to count, to play 21 for his pennies. Sometimes we even brought our own but it was much more fun winning his pennies. I remember games of Kerplunk in the middle of his living room. I remember sitting on his lap and reading the Sunday funnies and listening to the Phillies game on the little red transistor radio he had.
Did you know that the Grimm fairy tales used to be in the Encyclopedias? I remember him reading to us for what seemed like hours. Did you know that the story wasn't just Snow White? Snow White and Rose Red. So there. Ok, maybe they were separate stories but why didn't Disney love Rose Red just as much? I will have to go back and revisit.
So many very special memories but the one that I hold closest and most dear is one from more recent years. The one when our second born, Twink, arrived a month ahead of schedule and was in the NICU for a few days before we were able to bring her home. Besides my Mom, Poppop was the only other family member who was brave enough to "scrub up" and visit with her inside of the NICU. The wires and tubes? The didn't intimidate nor scare him at all. He took her in his arms and loved her from the very beginning. I *wish* I had a photo of that moment. He was always so gentle and loving with each of the babies.
|Twink - June 2002|
|PopPop and Twink July 2002|