We spent about an hour this afternoon with me Pepere (french for grandpa, pronounced peh-pay). He’s my dad’s father, and he’s pretty amazing. He’s 93 years old and going strong. Probably not strong enough to beat me in an arm wrestling contest, but i bet he’d give me a decent fight for a few seconds…and his arm definitely wouldn’t crack off at the elbow, which is more than you can say about most nonagenarians.
[that’s him in the picture on the left, talking to my sister Karyn]
He was telling us stories about living through the crash of ’29, and what it was like in the Depression. How they ate bread and potatoes with just a thin slice of meat on most nights (everyone in the family got one slice, except his father, who got two). Pretty crazy stuff. He said that most of us are so used to living comfortably, that we couldn’t hack it living through another depression. He’s probably right.
He went on to tell us how he met his wife, my memere (meh-may), who passed away 4 years ago. They met at a wedding between his cousin and her sister in 1941. He was 26, she was 18. They lived 100 miles apart, so following the wedding they wrote letters back and forth to each other. In one letter, my pepere wrote to her “if you love me as much as I love you and you want to get married, say yes and write a date down.” The next letter he received said “yes. April 18th”. So 6 months after they met, they got married, April 18th, 1942. They were married over 60 years before she passed away in the Spring of 2004.
[clockwise on the right: Me, my sis Karyn, my bro Josh, Erica, Pepere, Parker, my bro Jordan, Kylie]
Pepere’s body might be slowly getting weaker, but his mind is as sharp as ever. And as long as it is, I’ll enjoy every opportunity to hear him talk about how it was and how it should be.