(Picture Above – Poppi, my Mom (far left) and three of my Aunts)
My Grandfather fought in WWII in the U.S. Navy. After he died my Grandmother gave me his medals and pictures. I was about 13 years old. I still remember the feel of the medals and yellowing of the paper and edges of the pictures. I got older, learn to drive, went of to college, and for the life of me I’ve never been able to find that envelop of artifacts. It pains me that I lost them.
It’s not that those pictures and pins remind me of Poppi (my name for my Grandfather), he never talked to me about the war, or I never listened, I was a kid. I remember him taking me fishing, grabbing my knee to tickle me and how he loved my grandmother. As kids we would all wear his ‘giant’ t-shirts as pajamas to bed when we stayed over, and you could smell the Old Spice on them.
Poppi would tell my Grandmother how much he loved her as he drifted off to sleep. All of us grandkids stacked up like cordwood on the floor right outside their bedroom, the door always open. We would giggle as he seemed to not stop telling her until we all seem to finally drift off to sleep. It left a deep impression on me on how he truly loved this woman with his entire being.
It made me love her more. As a kid you look up to your grandfather and if he loved her that much, I better try to love her at least half that much. He was the best example of how to love someone I have had in my entire life.
So, on this Memorial Day, I remember the only soldier I ever truly knew, my Poppi. I’m so happy he came back to marry my Grandmother, and it makes me think of all those kids who never got a chance to know their Poppi.