He was my mom’s dad and my Nonno. He had seven younger brothers and sisters who really saw him as the head of their family. He had four other children and 11 grandchildren besides me.
I must say that being the oldest grandchild I probably had the opportunity to spend the most time with him and to know him the best. My grandfather was always hardworking and as a member of the Rotary Club he ran our local science fair for years and helped to organize the winter carnival. This year he was inducted into the hall of fame at his former university in Michigan. As a young engineer at the age of 26 he designed and oversaw the largest underground blast (at a mine in Northern Ontario) in the entire world. I didn’t even know that until last year though and, while it makes me proud, that isn’t why i loved my nonno.
–He used to sit on the edge of his bed and give my sister and I each a comb and some hair stuff and we would just go nuts doing his hair, making it stand straight up or twisting it and he would always look in the mirror and admire our work.
–One of my favourite things to do with him was feed the ducks. On a nice day we would get ready by filling grocery bags with popcorn and then drive down to bellevue park to spend all afternoon feeding the ducks and watching the deer.
–I love to learn. Even though he wasn’t able to read well for the last three years he still gets a National Geographic subscription so that I could read them.
–He would always fill up an old pill jar with jelly beans when we would visit and let me pick out all of the orange jelly beans.
–He liked to cook and would often be up at 4am making pancakes or starting on dinner. We would have to try to distract him on Thanksgiving so that the turkey wouldn’t end up in the oven 8 hours before dinner.
–He called me Katie-girl
I like country music (no this is not a side note) and a song by Randy Travis says “it’s not what you take when you leave the world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go”
Now that my nonno is gone he has left a huge family that misses and loves him and a great deal of the community that has benefitted from some of the good work he has done.