Friday, 20 July 2007

Boppa Norman

Suzanne got a birthday card from my grandfather's wife and I saw it was signed by Boppa Norman, my grandfather. I was surprised since I thought he was dead. Then I went to the door and he was standing there like he was when I was a kid. He went to the bed and climbed in and curled up next to Suzanne to read her a story.

When I woke up this morning, it made me smile because Boppa Norman died 3 years ago not in the best conditions. He came to me the way he was before he had dementia and before we had to fight his wife (not my grandmother) for custody of him because she was in denial about his state and her ability to take care of him.

The last couple years of his life, I didn't see him much because I was in France and when I came to the the US, he was in Florida not New Jersey. I took a few day trips to Florida but there was no way to spend quality time with him since, with age, he'd become a little paranoid, walked with a cane and short tempered.

When we were kids, he told us the best stories about growing up with a tribe of Brooklyn Indians (we weren't politcally correct in the 70's). And the one time Jerome met him, when he was already deep in his dementia, he told us an amazing story about the creation of the US railroad and how the digging unearthed missiles and this was somehow all related to how a particular Jewish family became quite successful because of Pullman cars. I found out that night that my grandfather had dreamed of being a history professor when he was younger but was blackballed because he was Jewish so he ended up in buisness.

He taught me to eat spaghetti with a spoon and how to play cards. He told us for years that the dump in Lowell, Massachusetts was being turned into an amusement park. For years, we waited impatiently for the day we could ride the roller coaster where the seaguls used to fly above the stinking heaps of Massachussetts rubish (not garbage). He called the toilet a John and called soda tonic. And he always brought us to the drive-thru car wash on Saturday mornings.

So, when Boppa Norman visited Suzanne in my dream last night it made me feel good that he finally saw her and that she could finally get to listen to one of his amazing stories.

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