Papa Gene

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My grandfather would have been 75 today.

He's been gone 20 years.

As I was 4 when he died, I don't have a whole lot of substantial memories of him. The ones I do have are suspect--do I actually remember this stuff, or do I just think I remember it because I saw a picture or someone told me a story? I have to believe that some of them are mine, though, especially as they get dimmer over the years.

He bought me bags of jelly beans at Arlene's Cafe. They came in a ziploc bag and cost $1. Our deal was that he would eat the black ones, I would eat the rest. Still seems like a good deal to me. When I was in high school, I used to put black jelly beans on his grave.

I remember him being thin, so thin, and coughing. Sitting in an easy chair, coughing. He had lung cancer. Since he died when I was 4, he probably had cancer for most of my life.

It is completely possible to miss someone you never really knew. I still miss him to this day. I've lost six other grandparents and great-grandparents since he died, but I still feel his loss the most. And today, he would have been 75.

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