The Greatest Man I've Ever Known

The Greatest Man I've Ever Known

My Grandfather

Every now and again in your life you meet someone who actually shares your birthday (unless you were part of a multiple birth, this is generally uncommon). For me I knew someone who shared my birthday from day one; I was born on an important day in my family due to it being my Grandfather’s birthday. I was born four weeks premature, but somehow decided that October 8th was the day to be born. After visiting my mother and meeting me for the first time, my Grandfather actually told my mother to not bother ever getting him another birthday present because nothing could beat me. I was the first grandchild and I was born on his birthday. Needless to say I was say I was spoiled.

But this article isn’t about me but rather about my Grandfather who will always be one of my favorite people. Robert A. Moriarty was born October 8th 1929 outside of Boston and had one brother, Thomas. Robert served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War and after the war was over, he married Doris. A few years later they adopted two children and my mother was the first one. My Grandpa worked for ABC Wide World of Sports for almost the entire time it existed. His office was in The World Trade Center and he journeyed every day from their home in New Jersey to New York City.



After the birth of yours truly, Bob and Doris traveled more regularly which included trips to Europe and just anywhere they felt like being at that time. They were actually on vacation during the 1993 attack on the Trade Centers. After that, Grandpa started to dial back until the day he retired. After 35 years of working he decided that was enough and that they were moving to Florida. I was 5 when my Grandparent’s sold their house in New Jersey and moved South. We actually went with my Grandmother and my Great-Grandmother due to the fact they needed another driver as my Grandfather had just had his first heart attack and was still in the hospital. So began my first trip to Florida.

By the time I was 10, my Grandparent’s convinced my parents that a few weeks with them at the end of the summer was a great idea. So in August for anywhere from 2-3 weeks we would fly down with my mother, who would stay for a few days and then she would fly back leaving us with Grandma and Grandpa. We ran around the section of Florida they lived in and got to see all sorts of things that kids who grew up in Upstate New York didn’t see on the regular (baby alligators for one). We named the alligator that lived in the waterways by their condo Ally (we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl it was just Ally the Alligator and that name stayed even if it was a different alligator) and generally just caused mischief as most children do.

But in the evenings when we were back at the condo, I would go to my Grandfather’s office and I’d sit with him while he watched the news. I learned a lot and a good portion of my political leanings are actually because of this man. I’m sure my parents were never really thrilled that their pre-teen daughter was learning politics when I should have been doing other things but hey, life happens. I watched the news with him every night until my Grandmother would call me away because it wasn’t right for me to spend all my time in the office. Because according to her, I just "had to be bored".

My Grandfather was a brilliant photographer and he also did his own framing so the photos in the house were usually done by him. I learned photography from him and my mother who he taught. I spent most of my life being on either side of the camera depending on who was there. I perfected the freeze and smile by the time I was five, which is probably why to this day I can’t quite manage the whole spontaneous photo thing.

One thing that I noticed as time went on, was my Grandfather searching for his words more often and getting more frustrated with himself. I didn’t know then but Grandpa had Alzheimer’s and it was getting worse. That of course was compounded with the guilt he had from what occurred on September 11th 2001. A family friend, the man my Grandfather had handpicked and trained to replace him, was in his office that day and unfortunately didn’t make it out like many others. After that there was a more drastic change and it just kept going. There were moments of the trade centers all around the condo and he would always pause in front of them and you knew he was thinking of everything.

But still he stubbornly kept trying; if you’ve never met a Bostonian Irishman let me tell you when they get set on something they just keep going. So my Grandfather kept getting worse but they tried to hide it from us, maybe to protect us maybe because they weren’t sure how to explain it. But slowly Grandpa kept retreating into himself and suddenly he wasn’t really up to talking to anyone anymore, including me, and when he did he would call me Kathy because he would get myself and my mother confused.

In December of 2013, my Grandparents took a trip to Maine to see where my mother lived and so my Grandfather could meet my step-father. I was living in Florida at the time working for the Walt Disney World Resort and we spoke on the phone a few times but it wasn’t much because I’ve always been a workaholic so I was kind of just working and sleeping 95 percent of the time. So my Mother got her final visit with her Dad and my Grandfather got to see everything that he hadn’t seen in years.

July 2014, I got a call that stopped my heart. It wasn't looking too good. After a certain incident where he got lost, had fallen and it his head, my Grandfather was living in an assisted living home. It was then when my mother drove down from Maine and together we went to my Grandfather. As we reached Venice city limits, we got the call that my Grandfather was being moved to hospice,and according to his doctors, he wasn't going to survive the day. We got to the hospital and my heart broke, the man I remembered was just a shadow now. He had lost weight and he had scrapes and bruises from where he fell.

My Grandfather didn’t die that day, but he did give us some rather entertaining one-liners that my mother and I will still laugh at. We stayed for a few days but then the real world came knocking back. I needed to go back to work and my mother needed to drive back to Maine. We said our goodbyes and I hugged him one more time and then cried as we left. On July 6th 2014 my phone rang again, my mother had just made it back to Maine and I was on my break at work when I got the news. My Grandfather had died. My best friend and my mentor in photography and politics was gone. I took the rest of the day off got my second tattoo and didn’t exactly handle the loss properly.

It’s funny how you don’t really ever get over losing someone. To this day I miss him and my heart breaks a little bit every time I see anything that reminds me of him. But I know that now he’s in a better place, he’s watching over me. And occasionally things happen that remind me that the ones we love are never truly gone.

I love you Grandpa and I hope that you’re still proud of me. One day I’ll see you again and we’ll discuss the political world that happened after you left us. I’m sure I’ll get to hear a rant or 12 about Trump and I’m sure you’ll understand why I couldn’t and still can’t support him.

So in honor of all of the Father’s be that biological, adopted, step or grandfathers, Happy Father’s Day. Know that you all are loved and cherished, and thank you for supporting us and enjoy yourselves.

You deserve it.

Cover Image Credit: Kathleen Marcheletta

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter To My Nana

Everyone deserves a Nana like you

Everyone deserves a Nana like you.

You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I have ever met and I am so glad God blessed me with being your granddaughter. From the moment I was born you were there, you lived almost 500 miles away but yet you were there every step of the way.

From first steps to first words, first days of school, you were there. Every first that you and Papa could be there for, you were. I didn't know it then but you were destined to be my best friend from the start. All the years you and Pops spent traveling back and forth from NC to PA, just to watch me and my brother grow up. You wanted to be there every step of the way and I couldn't have been more grateful. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.

Now that I am older and can actually realize the depth your love goes for me and my brother just makes me more thankful. I would do anything for you and I know you would do the same. I would spend every minute of my day hanging out with you if I could and if you didn't live so far away.

Being able to come hang out with you and spend these last two weeks was the biggest blessing. Learning your "not so secret" family recipes, being able to watch our shows together, baking cookies, shopping, playing slots, and so much more. You have told me this whole trip that I'm not allowed to go back home because you like the company and how much I have helped you and truth be told, I wouldn't leave you if I didn't have to.

One of my favorite memories, that maybe some wouldn't even call a memory, was when I got the tattoo of your handwriting, "Love You Bushels." It is by far my favorite tattoo I have and I know how much you hate them but you always joke with me anyways. I still remember to this day, when I posted a picture of it and told you to go look, you called me spitting Italian like you do when I stress you out, lol.

"Oh my Kayce, why would you do this?" you said.

"Well, I wanted to Nun and now you will always be with me," I replied.

"Well it is beautiful I guess," you responded (still with an attitude).

"So you like it?" I said.

"Well, hun, you know I love your mother and brother just as much as you, but maybe if I love them a little less they won't go putting it all over their bodies," you responded.

I laughed, you laughed because no one quite gets your sense of humor like I do, and no one quite gets mine like you.

I love this time I get to spend with you. The memories we make, the laughs we share, I wouldn't trade this time for the world. I know you will always be with me, even when you are 500 miles away.

Cover Image Credit: Kayce Davis

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Great-Grandma Bartron-isms For The New Year

Phrases and quotes from a wise woman to get you through 2018.

I was on the phone with my grandmother the other day while I wrote last week’s article. We chatted for a while about the New Year. It was during that chat that she decided I should spread the wisdom of my late Great-Grandma Bartron, so my readers could start off the new year with some inspiration.

I was never old enough for this wisdom to be imparted to me directly -- I was eight years old when she passed. These “Grandma Bartron-isms” are still used by my family to this day. This is advice from a woman who grew up during the Great Depression and lived in a world decidedly different than the one we live in now. Yet her advice still remains relevant, which is a testament to her wisdom.

Here are six of her more famous “Grandma Bartron-isms.”

"Smile, agree and do as you please."

This marital advice was given to the women of my family, whether it was prenuptial or thirty years into a marriage. This advice is very contradictory to the marital standards that she grew up with. She encouraged the women of my family to have a say in their marriage, in the way she was unable to. “My grandpa probably thought he was the boss in the relationship,” my mother remarked, laughing. She might not have been outspoken in her marriage, but she still had power.

"If you stay in bed, drink liquids, and watch TV your cold will last a week; if you get up and go to school it will last seven days -- so get going!"

"A walk is as good as a nap."

In the eyes of my great-grandmother, exercise and physical activity was the key to preventing and curing many ailments. She was a very active woman, who went on walks or swam every day and these quotes were her kind way of telling us to get off our butts and stay active.

"When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks about you. When you’re 40, you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. And when you’re 60, you realize that no one was thinking about you! They were all thinking about themselves!”

Grandma Bartron was known for her brutal honesty, which is represented in the above saying. This is something I think all college kids should keep in mind. It's easy to be self-conscious of yourself when you are doing a lot on your own for the first time.

Yet according to Grandma Bartron, everyone is too worried about themselves to worry about you. I will remember that this semester when I take my oral communications class, or the next time I sleep through my alarm and have to go to class in my pajamas.

"One [child] takes all your time and all your money, and that’s all two or three or four can do!"

This phrase was actually a bit of advice she received from a friend of her husband's, and it resonated with her so much that she adopted the phrase as her own. This is what Grandma Bartron would say when someone claimed she didn’t have enough money to have another child. Grandma Bartron had four children, and she believed that no matter what you were going to be broke and tired -- no matter if you had one child or four.

She herself loved babies and encouraged everyone to have them so she could spend time with them. She worked as a volunteer nurse in the baby nursery when she was 76 so that she could be the person to take the first pictures of my cousins when they were born.

"This too shall pass."

This phrase is not specific to my great-grandmother, but she verbalized it enough to become considered part of her vocabulary. It makes sense that a woman who grew up during the Great Depression would have this mindset. This phrase was used long before her time and will continue to be said for generations to come.

As I try to navigate college, this phrase will stick in the back of my mind. I’m sure she would have said it to me, had she lived to see me off to college.

Cover Image Credit: Ali Schulz

Related Content

Facebook Comments