"I'm especially thankful for all my grandchildren. And for each one of my great-grandchildren."
- Grampy Thanksgiving 2010James F. McAuliffe was my Grampy. Don't let the the stubborn persona fool you, he was a tender hearted Irish fellow. My Grampy lived 87 years. He was married to my Grammy for 65 years. He had 3 children. He had 8 grandchildren. He had 12 great-grandchildren. My Grampy was a hero to this country and to me. He went into the army as a paratrooper because, in his words, "They paid you more money to do the dangerous job." That's how he met my Great Uncle Buster, who died in combat. My Grampy received many awards, including the Purple Heart. After the war, he visited Buster's family, and met my Grammy. They have lived in the same town all their lives. My Grampy was a hard worker, a retired fireman and a chauffeur during his retirement. He taught me the value of hard work and dedication. "If you can work, you better work." He'd say.
I have fond memories with my Grampy. He may have been a bit gruff sometimes, but he was really a swell guy. He'd always talk with me, come out to say hello, and drive me whenever I asked. I have many fond memories including:
- Walking to get the newspaper when I was REALLY young and slept over.
- Going to mass with him when I was REALLY young.
- Riding my bike over and swimming in their ultra clean pool.
- Grampy drove me to Disney when I visited them in Fort Lauderdale.
- Grampy helped me wash my car because "I needed help to do it right."
- Grampy at Christmas. It was his favorite time of year.
- Grampy sat Mr. Miller and I down when we decided to go Puerto Rico for our honeymoon to show us all his pictures from Rincon. He told us great stories about his vacations there.
- In more recent years, we spent Thanksgiving with Gram and Gramp. It was the best time.
- Seeing my Grampy with the great grandchildren. It pains me that he will never meet my own children.
- One day this summer, when he was having a "bad day", I didn't go into the den to give him our usual hello and kiss on the cheek. He came outside, found me, and immediately gave me a kiss and said, "Hello Kristin." That was a good day.
- All the good days we had this summer. My dad said he put on his "best face" when we came to visit.
I said good-bye on Sunday. I visited Grampy in the hospital, and he didn't know I was there. I gave him our usual kiss on the cheek and said good bye.
I'll miss you Grampy. You were loving, caring, and tender in your own way and in your own time. I'm so blessed that you got to see me graduate college, get married, earn my masters degree, and run a marathon. I will be forever grateful for your support and love.