I debated a bit about posting this on Natalie’s blog because it is not really about Natalie. This is her blog, about her life. Then I realized that her life is Bop’s legacy. So it is about her. It is also about all of the rest of us who are Bop’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Just imagine the crazy stories that would have been recorded if there had been a “Bop blog” over the past 88 years…
There are a million memories of Bop from my childhood and
beyond. Brown cows. Crazy Park.
Cigar boxes. The Bells. Lamb Barbeques. Roses are Red poems. Hostess pies.
Kramers. Hankies under our
pillows. This is Kitridge Road song. Canned good Christmas gifts. Top Secret.
Croatian songs and words.
Of course I always knew that Bop loved me. I am his oldest grandchild, his “Jenka”, the
little girl he and grandma took out driving around for hours on weekend
days. However, a distinct memory of the
day that I became truly conscious of that love is etched in my mind. It was a warm spring afternoon when I was
around 14 years old. There was some sort
of family gathering, likely a birthday party, at Donna and John’s rental
house. Chaos and noise were the norm
and in the midst of the party I walked into the kitchen. Being that I was in my early teen years and
overly self-conscious of the way I looked/acted/dressed etc, I was initially
suspicious that there was some negative reason for the way that Bop was looking
directly at me from across the room. However, upon noticing that he had a slight
smile on his face, I resumed doing whatever it was I was doing (probably
eating). When I looked up again though, Bop
was still watching me. That face of his
was so easy to read and as I looked back at him, it practically screamed love and pride. Bop loved me.
Bop was proud of me. After that day, over many years, at various
times, I would see that same look come across his face again and again as he quietly
watched his family, love shining brightly in his eyes. Grandma, my mom, my cousins and siblings,
and eventually his great grandchildren.
To be loved by Bop was a great feeling.
He gave his family so many special times, so many hilarious moments, and
plenty of love to last us the rest of our lives.
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