Saturday, December 07, 2013

Remembering Grandpop

Twelve years ago this week, a very wonderful man passed away.  He was my Grandfather Pilley, and we all have such nice memories of him.  Tonight I thought I'd share with you some of me and my family's recent refelections of him.

I have SO MANY wonderful memories of my Grandpop!  Seriously, the list is LONG...  But, for now, I will just mention three.  It meant so much to me that he put a little in-ground pond in his backyard for me.  I have very fond, humorous memories of he and I digging up (and then cutting up) worms to feed to the goldfish.  Haha! 

The second lovely memory of him that I have is how, when he and Grandmom would stop by to visit us, he'd walk through our house and go directly out the back door (moments after he arrived) so that he could visit with Harold the duck first.  So cute!  That bird just loved him!

I also remember how he used to HATE to wash silverware when he'd do the dishes.  And, if you ever were to find something that was still a bit dirty in the clean pile of dishes to be dried, you had to stealthily sneak the item back into the dirty pile and HOPE that Grandpop didn't notice the item going through the second time.  Otherwise, if he caught you trying to send the item back through for a second washing, he'd get a bit mad and suggest that you just scrape the dirt off with your fingers or something!  Haha.

I remember how my Aunt Tess and I used to step on his feet purposely while he washed the dishes.  It was probably quite annoying to him...but he was a good sport and always laughed!  :)

Grandpop and Grandmom really set the tone for our husbands and wives should treat each other and how parents and children should treat each other.  So awesome.  :)

What a nice reunion we will have with him in Heaven one day!

And now, here's some of my family members' reflections on him!

I was remembering how he just loved Christmas and loved decorating our front window on Cheltenham Avenue - different every year !  He would keep it a surprise until he was ready to put up the lights.  Remembering how Charles and Dad would set up the trains and Charles would ask Dad to send me upstairs so I didn't break anything !  ha.ha.  I remember how Dad thought $3.00 would buy the most beautiful Christmas tree (if he did not cut down the one he grew on the front lawn) - and he thought that for years and years.  I am very particular about our choosing our Christmas tree with memories of Dad.

AND - most especially I remember when I learned there was no Santa Claus and I felt so happy about it - since I had no idea at that age that Grandpop had stayed up all night putting toys together and was so tired in the morning (after maybe an hour or two of sleep) that it took a lot of asking - for him to get up and see our toys that Santa left.  I am so grateful for the childhood memories and adult memories I have of my Dad.  I had the BEST Mr. & Mrs. Claus.

Thinking of my Dad,
P.S. I miss him so much !!!

Well, I have many wonderful treasured memories of my dad.  He was a terrific Dad.  Handsome.  A gentlemen.  I can still picture his hands.  Strong hands with dark hair.  They might have ink on them (a mark of his trade) or a piece of masking tape.  He always said it worked just as well as any bandaid.  How sad it was to get my mom's call at my work in the 70's  saying Dad got hurt on the job and lost the end of one of his fingers.  I believe it was his index finger.  Right hand?  The medical doctor had saved a bit of the nail on the finger, but I believe Dad wished that had been removed too.  The small nail was more trouble than it was worth.

Dad gave me my nickname.  Boots!  I was told I was always kicking my booties off as a baby.

Wonderful Christmas memories too.  Just like Tess recalled.  He loved Christmas and decorating the front windows of the house.  Each year he so enjoyed checking out the new Christmas items in the stores.  Even when he moved to Lancaster County he enjoyed shopping at Rebmans at Christmas.

Dad gave beautiful gifts to our mom.  He would shop at Stubbs on Rising Sun Avenue and choose lovely items--some coming out of New York!  He would go into the shop and the sales ladies would model the clothing for him.  He would make his decisions and then return to the store right before Christmas to pick up the beautifully wrapped packages for Mom.  We couldn't wait for Mom to open each gift.  The items were exquisite and lovely.  Mom never had to go shopping for herself. She always had special outfits whenever they went out or traveled.  One year Dad bought her a coat made of Seal!  It is still around.  Perhaps you will see it on me this holiday.

My brother Charles must have been influenced by Dad's shopping technique.  I remember one year he went to Stubbs and did his shopping there.  He gave me a lovely pink blouse with pearl buttons.  It would not surprise me if it too still hangs in my closet.  That is such a sweet memory for me.  I think Charles went on to shower Maryann with gifts from Stubbs.  Ahh, such sweet men in our family.

Dad had his favorite cookie--the springerle.  His mother would give him a box from Hanscoms Bakery every year.  Then my mom decided to try making them for him.  With a gift from Tess--a rolling pin specially made for this cookie, Mom started producing them.  Loads of them!  We all could now enjoy his favorite cookie.  And not just at Christmas!  Mom made them throughout the year.

Dad wore a hat--a fedora--and invariably it was always sat upon by somebody.  He was forever putting his hand in it to straighten it out.

Dad always carried a pen and a handkerchief.  You could always count on him to have a pen but make sure to bring it back immediately when you were finished with it.  He would not let you forget.  He would just have to outstretch his hand and you would be reminded.

Dad always kept his shoes on around the house.  Guess I inherited that trait.  I am rarely without my shoes.

Dad always gave a kiss and thanked Mom after every meal and made sure us kids helped in the cleanup.  He always wanted us to help Mom.  We are, Dad, even today.

Donating blood was something he did regularly.  When I was young and saw Dad walking down the street coming home early from work, I knew he donated blood.  He did it for years!  Dad had lapel pins for the many pints he donated.

One day Dad came home from work carrying something.  It was a pogo stick.  Who knows how he came to get a pogo stick.  I don't think I ever heard.  However, I certainly had a great time trying to jump on that thing.  Nobody else in the neighborhood had a pogo stick.  I felt lucky.

Dad was a hard worker.  A very hard worker.  He worked during the day, came home, and down to the basement he would go to his own printing business.  Can you imagine being color blind and working in the printing business day and night?  I never heard him complain about that disability, and he would depend on Mom if he had to match an ink color for one of his customers.

One day Dad had me hand out fliers on Frankford Avenue hoping to drum up more printing business.  Dad dropped me off and said he would circle around the block and pick me up on the next corner.  Well, I passed out the fliers, got to the corner, no car, no Dad.  So I did the next block.  No car, no Dad.  Then I got scared and started to talk with a lady on that corner.  Should I do another block??  The lady told me to stay put.  Thankfully, it wasn't too long before Dad showed up.  I could tell he was worried about me.  He could not get over how quickly I handed out those fliers.  Tess will tell you I was always worried about getting lost as a child.   I probably delivered those fliers in record time wanting to get safely back in the car with Dad.

Dad took naps in his recliner.  Sometimes we would trip and tumble down the staircase and wake him as he was snoozing.  He would jump out of the chair with fright and be angry.  His reaction made you disregard any pain you might have experienced with the fall.  Deep down, we knew he loved us and wouldn't want anything to happen to us.

I only went fishing once with my dad and my brother.  Like Jonah, I don't like being around water.  Wouldn't you know the motor on the boat died and there we were floating in darkness with only a kid's whistle in the tackle box to draw attention to us.  Boy was that a scary night for me.  We managed to flag down another boat to pull us to shore.  Frankly, I didn't think anyone would still be out there to help us.  It was so dark and so late in the evening.  I remember pulling up the driveway to the house.  Mom was in the kitchen wondering why we were getting home so late.

Dad worried about his family, but he didn't want us to be worriers.  One of his last bits of advice had to do with trust.  "You have to trust people, Mary Lee."

So Dad, Happy Birthday!  Christmas Eve is your day.  You will be in our thoughts that's for sure.

Thanks, Tess, for the opportunity to reminisce.  It was neat reading everyone's comments.

Love, ML
Well I am sure we do not have as many wonderful memories as you do but let me see, I do remember one and that
was when Tess and Fred had a big picnic at their house one summer and EVERYONE was invited.  I think it was 4th of July?
I remember Tess had flags and red white and blue decorations all around, they also had a karaoke mike and speakers etc.
I asked Uncle Charles if he would like to dance.  He looked so surprised, but consented with a little smirk on his face.
We danced to "Islands in the stream" by Dolly Parton.  We were singing it while we danced !!!! He thanked me at the end !!!
Always a gentlemen.

Walt said one of his memories was that whenever we went to visit your Dad and Mom, when we were ready to leave,( after your
Mom had tried to feed us at least 6 times LOL )  your Dad would put his coat on and come outside to bid us goodbye.  He would
stand on the sidewalk and wave until we were out of his sight. So many times we would look back and he would still be there, and
it didn't matter how cold, or if it was raining, there he would stand until he couldn't see us any longer.

We are enjoyiing reading these !!!!  What a great idea !!!

Love to all,
Merry Christmas too !!!  Hope you are all well and enjoying life.

Love Walt and Shar

Well  mine might not be as humorous as Lisa’s (good job Lisa!) I might have some of the details wrong because my memory tends to be foggy at best, and many are simply events….but….I remember Granpop sitting in his chair with the top half of his fingers tucked under the waist of his pants. I distinctly remember Granpop sitting at the dining room table and pointing at things with his middle finger (with his hand facing down – not up in a disrespectful way, he would never have done that). Charlie did the same thing a lot when he was young, and occasionally still does.

I remember his printing press in the basement on Cheltenham Ave…the smell of the ink, grease and steel, and how cool I thought the big fly wheel was that made the press run.

I remember him practicing his golf swing in our backyard and hitting golf balls back and forth. And how he’d try to teach a young skinny kid how to properly swing a club (I was a bad student..LOL).

I remember my father and him getting in long conversations about work, and Grandpop saying to me….”I don’t want to be at work any longer than I have to..why would I want to work overtime?”

I remember how everyone would share stories after dinner around the dining room table, and if Grandmom disagreed with him about some detail of a story, the look of irritation he would get at the idea that his recollection of events was being questioned. Most of those ended in laughter all around the table. By the way does everyone remember the selection of desserts Grandmom would have?....”we have chocolate cake, ice cream, pudding, cookies, pie..”….the choices seemed endless. Oh, and at holidays, he always wanted the LEG of the turkey if I remember correctly.

His insistence that you should go to church on Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve.

I remember him dragging several large black garbage bag in the house at 871 Spruce Lane, and handing one to each of us (Kathy, Stephen, myself). Each bag was loaded to the top with gifts. It felt like there was 50 presents in there. I also remember him always wearing a Christmas tie on Christmas eve and Christmas day. I still take many of my dress cues from him – when to wear a suit, tie, etc… I usually ask myself…would my Grandfather have dressed up for this? Of course the answer was always yes.

I definitely remember the gentle care and consideration with which he handled my Grandmother when they were coming and going.

I am lucky to be able to remember him getting down on the floor to play with the Pilley great grandchildren when they were only a few months old. Very lucky to have that picture in my head.

And finally, how every time we would leave his house, he would stand at the end of the driveway with his flashlight pen, and he would blink the light on and off until we rounded the corner and were on our way.


Yup...I remember a lot of this stuff too...

The printing press in the basement for sure and the smell of the ink.  I can still remember the noise of it running as though it were just a few minutes ago.  For some reason I remember that small skinny pole down there too that I always swung around on.

Dinner on Sundays of course too....always crumbs from cookies and all the desserts on the table.  That means we definately enjoyed all those meals at their house.

I remember too, the Christmas's with the garbage bag of toys for each of us at Spruce Lane.  I couldn't believe they did that for us.  It must of cost them so much money!  I pray that someday Blaine and I can spoil our grandchildren the same way.  I can still remember the hat I bought for him for Christmas when I was a teenager that ended up being way too small for his head.  There is a picture of that somewhere and we even returned the hat together at Sears since they had been stuck at our house overnight because of a snow storm.  I remember how disappointed I was when they left because of the fact we had extra fun with them being snowed in an extra day with us. 

I remember Grandpop always being at the head of our dining room table and eating the turkey leg.  I think he was the only one who liked the dark meat wasn't he?  And yes, you for sure couldn't return a dirty dish.  My dad didn't like that either but we got a good laugh when we would sneak silverware in on each other as I got older and was washing the dishes! 

Yes...all good memories...and good values passed down to us.  Grandpop and Grandmom were/are the best!


I remember at Mary Lee and Tom's wedding, was it May 22, 1975 maybe??    

The girls wore a pink and burgundy dress with a sash over the shoulder.  Mary Lee looking stunning a beautiful bride in white. And Tom handsome as ever!  So in love!   Melrose country club was where the reception was held.  It was time to dance the father daughter dance.  Uncle Charlie the proud father took Mary Lee's hand and they began the dance. Oh so beautiful. And then...  And then .... The most amazing moment occurred.  Uncle Charlie said something to the beautiful bride and they went to get Tess.  They got her and the three of them danced the remainder of the song.  After all Uncle Charlie was blessed with 2 little girls.  I will always treasure that memory. 

My Mom always said Uncle Charlie and Dearie were so much in love. He would wear white suits with spectator shoes on their dates and was always a perfect gentleman.  He took Dearie to weekends away just the two of them honoring their marriage and having fun with his bride!

I remember Uncle Charlie and Dearie gave me my wedding invitations as a wedding gift!  Beautiful lovely invitations. And I remember all the piles of work to be delivered / picked up on the dining room table.  

I remember they took me to see The Sound of Music at the movies when I was a child at the movie theater on Rising Sun avenue and we walked there.  We walked the Avenue together, as well!  

I remember the two of them as leading us all by example on how to live well, love well, speak well, and be respectful of others.  

So many precious , magical moments

God Bless Uncle Charlie!  

Much Love,