Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Long Walk Home

Today, my sister Michelle (I have two) did a presentation as part of her program at Red River Community College. She is in the Creative Communications department there, and was required to do what they call and IPP...Independent something Project. She chose to do it on our Grandpa on my dad's side.

My Grandpa died when my dad was 14 years old. He left behind 9 children, ranging in ages from 3 to 22 at the time of his death, and his wife, my grandma. The whole family has had a hard time talking about my grandpa, and this was a very emotional experience for all of them, as I know it was for Michelle.

On November 26th, 1970, Grandpa was killed by a train. They have never determined how or why his car collided with that train. I know that it was incredibly hard on all of my Dad's siblings, and himself, because whenever he is mentioned, there is a sadness. No one wants to make anyone sad, so we, as the grandchildren, have collectively, asked very little about him.
Michelle decided to change all of that. She interviewed each of my uncles, and my aunt (yes, only one of those 9 kids, was a girl!) and put together a book about this incredible man. A man who loved to laugh, who didn't have any time for a hobby, because he was too busy playing with his kids, a man who was loved so deeply, it physically hurts those who knew him to talk about him. But talk they did.

Today, we watched her presentation. From the moment she opened her mouth, I was bawling. You have to understand. Michelle lives her life as though she was not given tear glands. She never cries, but today, she cried most of the way through her presentation. It was terribly sad to hear her tell the stories that my Aunt and Uncle's had recounted to her....Auntie Marlene and Uncle Ted had already bought Grandpa an ash tray for Christmas...Dad was shovelling the snow from the driveway so that Grandpa could park his car there when he got home from work...Grandma was doing some sewing as she waited for her husband to come home from work. Stories about the day he died, and other stories, from his life that I've never heard, about a man I never had the chance to know.
It was an honor that Michelle chose Grandpa for this project. An honor to all his children and grandchildren, and to Grandma. I wish I could have known this man that my father misses so much, but at least now, I can have the memories of his kids and wife in this book, "The Long Walk Home" by Michelle Cattani.
Michelle dedicated the book to Margaret, David, Don, Glen, Barry, Doug, Steve, Ted, Marlene and Tim.
Thank you Michelle, for this tribute.

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