My grandfather passed away when I was a teenager. I was your typical self absorbed kid who thought the world revolved around me and my sheltered world. I never had the chance to appreciate him like one does as they mature. For many years the pain of his death overshadowed the memories of the man I called Pop, but as I grew into an adult the memories became easier to handle. Over the last few years, I have even tried to research his life, especially his service in England during World War II. What I found was a fascinating American journey by someone who was incredibly talented, brilliant, and influential on those who knew him.
What I remember was a somewhat broken man, a man who lost his wife to cancer and was resigned to watching the rest of his life pass by. I recall him sitting by his window in Jersey City, and I have a difficult time recalling him being anywhere but in that seat. What I couldn’t comprehend at the time was that while he was parked there he was doing the London Times crosswords and considered the New York Times puzzle to be simple. While I saw the paintings and woodcarvings on the wall, the fact that he created them never seeped passed my ego into my brain. He told me very little about his life and even less about his feelings. But he always had brownies for us and a smile on his face when his grandsons arrived. We loved Pop, but I do wish I could have asked him more and learned from his experiences.
My father and my uncle have told me only slightly more. For one reason or another, they never spoke much about their father. Even now, as an adult, I still discover things from them I had never heard before about their childhood and growing up with my grandparents. Some of those new discoveries came when my uncle Robbie wrote an amazing piece for the American Public House Review back in November of last year.
His search to find the place where his parents honeymooned is one I have read many times. This type of pilgrimage to discover one’s past is a journey many people can only dream to make. Read “In Search of the Lamb”. Every family has a story to tell the younger generations, but few of us get to follow in the footsteps of our fathers.