One of the most important men in my life is my grandpa, Poppi. Besides my dad, he was probably the first man I ever met. As I got older, I learned just how much of an influence this man would be in my life.
My Poppi and I were partners in crime from the very beginning. He used to pick me up from daycare or take me to school when I was three and four years old. I used to cry and fight him and ask not to go, but sure enough he’d make me go and wouldn’t you know I loved school. Those moments of him taking me to school and other places seem so insignificant and small but they were the foundation of what would be an unbreakable bond.
Whenever my parents were going to go out of town or stay out late somewhere, I would be so excited to stay at my grandparents’ house. Nothing was better than some of grandma’s (Jammie) cooking, some ice cream, and fighting over who got to sleep on the bigger more comfortable couch. The best part of staying there, though, was when my Poppi would go down to the basement, sit in his recliner and watch the Boston team for whatever sport season it was. He’d sit with his Bud Light and I sneak down the basement stairs, hide behind the chair, pop up and scare him! This was one of my favorite traditions with my Poppi; especially because he was such a good sport about it.
Once I was done laughing at how badly I scared him, we moved on to our next game – beauty salon. Poppi was balding for as long as I’ve ever known him and what hair he did have was very thin. Don’t ask me why, but he always let run and wet my hands and use the water to spike up his hair in various styles. My personal favorite was called “Volcano” and entailed me spiking both sides of his hair up to meet in the middle like a volcano.
When it was time to leave, my last trick was to steal his wallet, take a dollar, and then tell him I was going to steal all his money. He’d always laugh and then I’d go and try to give him his dollar back. He’d laugh and say “no, no you keep it.” He and I would argue about it for a bit, but I always ended up leaving a dollar richer. “Don’t spend it all in one place,” he’d say as I left.
My Poppi was my biggest fan, always coming to every soccer, softball and basketball game he could make it to. Poppi loved sports so much that he’d give up an afternoon to watch a bunch kids run around and attempt to be athletes. He and my dad went to every Providence College basketball home game for over twenty years. My favorite part was when my dad couldn’t go so I got to go with my Poppi. This meant him trying to buy me soda or ice cream or anything else I wanted and letting me stay up way past my bedtime.
Poppi, always made sure I knew how a man should treat me. His famous saying was “if he doesn’t open the car door for you or hold the door for you, he’s not the right guy.” He made sure I knew that he was going to meet any boyfriend of mine and make sure he was good enough. And if he wasn’t, well he should be scared.
When leaving for college, Poppi was one of the hardest people I had to leave. Every time I came home, he told how much he missed me and said that he looks at my picture on the wall every day to cheer him up. Recently, I had to say goodbye forever to my Poppi it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I could share a million more stories about how this man made my life so much better, but then this article would never end. Thank you, Poppi for all the great times and for having such a huge influence on my life. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without you.