Posted by: x | March 18, 2011


Today is my Poppy’s birthday.

To others, he was known as Gene or Geno, but to his grandchildren, he was Pop-Pop, later shortened to Poppy.

He passed away just after he turned 70 years old in 1998.

That sounds so long ago when I write it down, but in reality, it doesn’t seem like such a long time because I am reminded of him constantly.

I see him in my little girl’s face every time she smiles.

I see him in my mom’s sweet care and kindness toward everyone she meets.
Everybody liked Poppy, and everybody likes my mom.

I see him in my man, a fellow engineer with the same calm demeanor, generous spirit, and love of American cars. Nana used to say, “It’s tough being married to a saint,” and now I get what she meant.

And although I don’t resemble him much in looks or temperament, I see Poppy in my own love for college sports.

He never missed a Notre Dame football game. I can still see him sitting in his favorite blue chair in the den, watching intently.

And of course, we always mailed him our bracket picks at the start of March Madness. (Hooray for Notre Dame — a 2-seed this year! Go Irish!)
Poppy despised Dean Smith’s “Four Corners” and that loathing of the Tar Heels has been passed down to the fourth generation now (yes, my girls will tell you that the Tar Heels are the bad team).

And there are so many more sweet memories….

Poppy getting up early to make us scrambled eggs for breakfast…Poppy shooting the moon every time we played hearts…celebrating St. Patrick’s Day…spending the week at the beach together…Poppy’s special homemade Khalua at Christmas…and the post cards he sent us from Florida.

I know the younger grandchildren didn’t get to experience all these things the way I did. The mixture of Parkinson’s disease and dementia made it harder to relate to Poppy later in life. But that couldn’t diminish his love for all of his family, even those who didn’t get to truly know him. So I write this post for them.




  1. Between St Patrick’s Day, his birthday, and March Madness, he is never far from my thoughts. We just need to make German chocolate cake! Thanks for your post; I hadn’t seen that beach picture in years! And Go Irish! Win it all!

  2. I just cried all over the place. Thanks for the post – beautiful. Miss you and love you!

  3. So, I guess I didn’t check your blog yesterday, so I’m a little late… but, I am crying all over the place, too. I was telling Steve this week about how I always think a lot about and miss Poppy this time of the year … and how we would send brackets to him, etc… you are very good at putting things in words so I appreciate this tribute a lot! I also think about him whenever I get up early and make eggs 🙂

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