I once handed my grandfather a letter telling him how great I thought he was, and, among other things, how much God loved him. I wrote that letter because, thanks to his poor health, I wasn't sure I'd see him again.
That was 15 years ago.
Good ol' Gramp lasted a whole lot longer than we ever thought he would, but things finally caught up to him a few weeks ago. I'll remember him for a lot - his personality, his quirks, and his love of bathroom humor. When he would ask me if "everything came out alright" upon exiting the restroom, I would always giggle (as a kid and, I'll be honest, as an adult). Gramp was also my resident fashion consultant, giving me wedding dress advice (seriously) and encouraging Tyler to purchase a three piece suit. (He sent a hand-written letter saying that three-piece suits are very "in" and particularly popular with the hip-hop crowd. Enclosed was a cut out of a three-piece-suit-wearing Justin Timberlake). He was more current on pop culture than most of my friends - a dinnertime reference to Snooki, Glee, or J.Lo was not out of the ordinary - and he loved a good party. As you can see, he also loved a good tan.
I was definitely interviewing him in the following picture. Who knew I would end up doing real interviews as a "grown up"? (Sans massive pink scrunchie, of course.)
One of my favorite memories of my grandfather was a recent one. Soon after Tyler got released, he called to tell me about losing his mailroom job at an ad agency. He was getting paid close to nothing, but still thought it was the end of the world (sound familiar?). Soon after that, he was hired by Y&R where he worked until he retired, producing hundreds of successful commercials. The moral of the story was clear; the sentiment behind it even more so.
We headed to New York for the funeral just after feet of snow blanketed the northeast. We used to live up in New York during the summers, but I've never been up that way in the winter. It was freezing, but beautiful.
While we were there, I couldn't resist leafing through some of my grandparents' old photos and albums. Look who I stumbled across:
I don't know about you, but that makes me want to buy some Kodak film. Gramp made sure all of Gram's modeling memorabilia was well preserved, putting together several scrapbook's-worth of her work. It's fun to look at until I realize that I didn't get the 16-inch waist genes. I'm not bitter.
I'm going to miss Gramp a lot. But luckily I have lots of great memories.