For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Abigail and I am Bob’s youngest granddaughter. Actually, just youngest grandchild in general. I lovingly referred to him as Poppo because when I was young the word Papere was too much of a struggle and I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel.
For all of my life, I have always loved learning. I haven’t always loved admitting it, but it’s true. One of the things I loved the most about my grandfather is all of the things I learned from him. A little over a month ago, I sat with him and we had a pretty serious conversation about growing up and what that looks like. He said, “Abigail, do what you love. Money is important but family, love, and happiness are more important." Poppo was the kindest man I have ever met in my life. Not only did he tell me the things I should value most, he lived that way too.
When I was a little girl, me and my mom would go visit Poppo and Aunt Teresa and I would always make Poppo play cards with me. Now mind you, I was not very good at cards and I cheated a lot but we would always eat chips ahoy and laugh and laugh until we couldn’t laugh anymore. Then Aunt Teresa would come in and say, “What’s all this ruckus in here?” and Poppo would say, “Boy, she’s tough paper, isn’t she?”
My grandfather taught me the importance of being able to crack a joke, and then laugh at it – even if you’re the only one laughing. A quality I also share with my mom. He told me to dream without limits, and to chase those dreams no matter what the cost. I can’t tell you how many times he sat with me and encouraged me to do my best. During my senior year of soccer, I was having a serious issue with my coach and I called him and ranted about her. He said, “Never give up and never back down.” Poppo was the man who told me that I could do anything, and believed it. When I said I was going to Temple to study education, just like him, he said I should try out for the soccer team and my sister and I just laughed because I wasn’t very good but he thought I was.
When he lived with us, we would eat ice cream and watch NCIS and laugh. When it was nice outside, he would sit on the porch and watch me dribble and practice punts. To this day, he is the reason I know how to do anything with my left foot. I have a thousand memories with my grandfather. He was probably my favorite family member and I definitely told him that more than once.
So Poppo, there are a few things that I have left to say to you specifically. I want you to know that you are my hero. You’re kind and strong and have survived more than anyone ever should have to. I love that I got your sense of humor and love of laughing. Your competitive spirit has always come in handy, too. You devoted your life to giving back to the community and my desire is to follow in your footsteps and do the same. I have learned so many things from you. You taught me to value people and memories more than money and things. Because of you, I know that I can do anything I could ever imagine with hard work and perseverance. Thank you for loving me well.
One last thing – in May you told me that you wanted to see Josh again, meet Selah when she was born, walk again, and dance with me on my wedding day. Well, Poppo, you got to see Josh and I am positive that Mumere has already dragged you to a thousand flea markets and that you’re running circles around everyone up there.
I love you forever, and I promise to save you a dance on my wedding. Be careful.