Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa!

If my grandfather was alive, he'd be 103 today.

Let me tell you a little about my grandfather. He had many names: Leo, Dad, Uncle Leo, Papa. Whatever people happened to call him, there's one thing for sure; they all loved him. He was one of the best men I've ever known.

One of my favorite Papa stories is this one:

Papa was very hard of hearing. You basically had to scream for him to hear you. My best friend, Laurie and I would always stop by Papa's to see didn't hurt that his house was on the beach. Laurie and I have been best friends since 5th grade. Papa had known her for a very long time. One day, as we were heading over to his house, Laurie said to me, "can you please tell Papa my name? I don't think he knows it." I said, "what?! Of course he does. Don't be silly." When we got there, I did say (well, scream) to him, "Papa, you remember Laurie?" His response? "Yeah, I know Dorothy." I was laughing too hard to correct him. In the years to come Laurie would often stop by Papa's, with her boyfriend or other friends, and he still called her Dorothy.

Papa at the cottage

Papa died in 1996 after a battle with cancer. We still gather at his house ("The Cottage") every fourth of July.

I still miss him. I can't help but think of him when I smell moth balls and salt air.

Papa with my nephew, Bryce

Uncle Gerry, Papa, my brother

Papa, my brother, my dad


  1. Happy Birthday Papa! Oh my 103 years old, can you imagine?? He'd still want to drive. Remember how hard he would step on the gas when he started the car? VROOOOOOOMMMMMM!! Or the time he backed up on RT 93, because he missed the exit to the Boston Garden? aaahhhhh-scary!

    Great post, great pictures. I still miss him so much.

  2. He always gave me potato chips at the cottage. I wouldn't be in the door 5 minutes and he'd be handing me potato chips. What an outstanding man he was.

  3. There was no one like your "Papa". To me he was Uncle Leo and the warmth and fun times he provided can't ever be duplicated. One of my prized possessions is the framed photo (the same one at the top here) given to me on my 60th birthday last September. He was the best and he still is missed.

  4. One time, as we were leaving a family gathering, my brother cautioned Uncle Leo to drive carefully. He put his hand on my brother's shoulder and said "I'll be driving so slow I'll get a ticket for parking". There are a million stories but all of them bring smiles and really warm memories. There is no way to say anything more than he was the best.