Tribute to my Grandfather, a man who lived almost 100 years…



Imagine being born in the year 1913… when Ford’s Model T cars were rolling around, fresh off of the assembly line, and women suffragists were demonstrating for the right to vote.   I’ve tried to imagine all he has seen throughout these years, but it’s almost incomprehensible to have been witness to all he has.  Not only has my grandfather lived all of this, he has done so with grace, hard work and a wonderful sense of humor.  Less than 2 months away from his 100th birthday, he was still joking, still dancing, still playing the piano, and still flirting with all the pretty young ladies.

Edward was a child born into a wealthy family, not because they had always been, but because his father left Italy to make his fortune by living the American Dream.  As a child, Edward went from being taught that it was polite to leave a little food in your plate at the dinner table to wishing that he still had that food as he walked away from the table hungry when the market crashed in the1920s.

His family was considered one of the lucky ones, as they didn’t immediately lose everything in the market.  They owned blocks of Real Estate.  Yet, when the time came, his family’s kind heart saw the despair and tragedy of tenants who could no longer pay their rent.  They decided not to put these people out on the street, and in doing so caused their own financial disaster.  My grandfather had to leave school and begin working… and work he did, hard and long to support his family.

In his lifetime, he saw a changing world and moved with the times, evolving not only his way of life, but his way of thinking, which is not always easy for those of our elders.  He was even considered a man who was born ahead of his time, with his liberal thinking and family values.  When his wife died, leaving their two small children behind, he went against the rules of society.  He fought to keep and raise his two children alone, which was totally unheard of in this day.  True, my Mom’s hair wasn’t always perfectly arranged, nor her clothing, but he did the best he could while working full-time to support his family.  To him what was most important was that they were together.

He lived through World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Charles Lindbergh’s first trans-Atlantic flight, the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Empire State Building opening in New York City in 1931, The Great Depression of 1933, Prohibition in 1920 and the end of Prohibition in 1933, Segregation, Integration, Brown versus Board of Education in 1954, Civil Rights Acts of 1960s, Neil Armstrong setting foot upon the moon… This list can go on forever, but Edward never stopped learning and moving with the times.

At the age of 99 Edward went into his first swimming pool, and was even introduced to the internet.  Although he never made it over to Paris, France, his very first internet video chat took place with his great-grandchildren, as well as with me and my sweet French man.  His feet never made it here, but his face appeared on our computer screen here in Paris a few weeks ago. He kept saying, “I can’t believe it! This is incredible!”

One of the very last things Edward did before he passed away was to walk into an election center and proudly cast his vote for Barack Obama.  He, as well all around were so excited to see someone of his age not only be able to walk in, but cast his vote so very proudly.  When they put the, I Voted Sticker on his jacket, he proudly walked out and showed everyone.  His smile couldn’t have been bigger.

Edward died suddenly, after a fall, while he was planning a big party to celebrate his 100th birthday.  Even though his spirit has gone, his life is indeed something to celebrate.

To my Grandfather… I am so very proud of how you evolved with the times and how you laughed and lived life to the fullest, while keeping your hard-working values.  I am so very grateful to have had a grandfather like you, for you were indeed a treasure who will live on forever in our thoughts, hearts and minds and spirits.   You will live on in your three children, one step child, nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren… some of who have your magical musical ear & piano ability.

A candle burns for you in Sacré-Coeur Basilica, in Paris France today… You did indeed make it over here grandpa. We love you.


Photo/Editing Credits: Bellanda ®


35 thoughts on “Tribute to my Grandfather, a man who lived almost 100 years…

  1. Oh, dear Bellanda, what an emotional post. I love the way you described your grandfather, who clearly was a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.


    • Thank you, Filian. He was indeed a spirited man… who will indeed live on, for there are few like him on this earth. Each time I see my 7 year old play Bach on the piano (he taught himself by ear), I see my Grandfather playing the piano, saying excitedly, “I don’t know how I do it! I never took a lesson in my life… Can you believe it?” He was so full of life… and his smile and laugh could brighten any room. We will indeed miss him, but know how very lucky we were to have him. I am thrilled my children shared beautiful moments with him, as well. Thank you again, Filian.


  2. Very sweet. Thanks for sharing. And what a wonderful place to light a candle for him. Sacre Coeur is such a special place.

    He sounds like such a wonderful gentleman. Sorry he’s gone. We need more like him.


    • Thank you so very much, Paul. I agree… we can learn so much from such a man & I hope there are indeed more like him out there. His candle burned brightly next to that of one for my Dad… I couldn’t think of a better place for a tribute to two such incredible men who will be missed immensely. Thank you again, Paul.


  3. Thanks for writing such a beautiful and moving tribute to your grandfather. I was deeply touched and couldn’t help but think of my own grandparents passing and what their lives were like. He was clearly loved by you and everyone around him. What a great gift a love like that is. May he rest in peace. Thanks again for sharing this wonderful tribute.


    • Thank you for your kind words… I hope we both do. I can’t imagine seeing all he has over the years. Truly inspiring to see a man born in 1913 who evolved with the times… so very rare… He was a truly amazing man who lived through so much, yet he kept that smile of his that could light up a dark room.


    • Thank you… Your sentiments touch me immensely. He was an incredible man who lived through much & who moved and adapted with the times. I am so proud and fortunate to have had him with me for so long. Again, thank you, Marisa.


    • Thank you so very much, Carolyn. I’m touched by such outpouring of support and wonderful words concerning my Grandfather and my Tribute to him. I know my Mom is following this Post, as well as these comments… and I am sure that she appreciates them as much as I do. Thank you…


    • Thank you, Maria… I couldn’t think of a more fitting place, so high above Paris… We let our two little ones light two candles… one for my Dad who passed away in 1994, and the other for my Grandfather. Their flames flickered brightly side by side. Two men, who had so much to give… one who lived a very long life and the other who was taken away far too early.

      I will add your grandfather in my thoughts when I celebrate the life of my grandfather’s memory on the day that should have been his 100th.


  4. Hi Miss. This is a great post. I shared this with you and as we discussed I am sharing it with anyone else who might find some comfort from it. I recently lost a close family member and struggling in my grief and with the grief of my loved ones I did the only thing I felt I could do at the time, I made a mix tape. Sounds a bit silly writing it like that- but it was a very real sense of wanting to control things. I found the music that I felt represented our feelings at the time and mixed into it a range of spoken quotes to create a sort of collage of ideas. Being a wavering agnostic I wanted the mix to share the feelings we have when we experience loss and have to question deeper. Anyway, here is the mix: Have a listen and thanks for the lovely words of encouragement Bella. With love, Toby


    • Thank you for sharing your story and your grief… I listened to your mix… thank you so much for sharing it with me and for sharing it on my blog. My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time. Keep expressing yourself, in whatever form you have available to you… Expression is one of the first steps in healing.


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