Object of Affection Projection Result from 8/29/13
I was in high school when my father told me that my beloved grandfather (and his own father) was dying.
Grandpa Fitzpatrick’s life and death profoundly affected me as a person. His death came a time when I was unsure about my place in the world, and questioning everything about my own existence. I still think about him often, his laugh – this man laughed easily and often – the navy suits with gold buttons that he wore to dinners out, his favorite kind of cake, and most of all, the love of Slim Pickens and the Three Stooges that he passed to his son (my dad), and his first granddaughter.
I wrote a poem about his death called Truth and Marbled Cakes. It won several awards and helped me heal in ways I don’t really understand.
But whenever I see a pack of playing cards or play Hearts on the computer, I think of him. I remember watching him shuffle the deck easily and quickly, usually while joking and laughing with friends and family. I remember sitting alone with a pack of cards trying to figure out the cool way Grandpa shuffled the deck, pinching the sides and bending in the middle to make a beautiful bridge, the sound of shuffled cards a comforting whisper in my ears. When I watch The Three Stooges, I think of him. Any time I hear a reference to Slim Pickens (usually re: Dr. Strangelove or Blazing Saddles, one of my fave movies), I think of Grandpa.
His wife, my grandmother Grann also holds a special place in my heart. The Fitzpatrick side of my family always encouraged me to write. Grann had a true love affair with words, a passion she passed to my talented aunt Cathy and to me. (I idolized my aunt growing up, because of her way with words. I don’t think I ever told her that.) Grann often told me I would be writer, and warned me it would be lonely and hard but that it was my destiny.
She was right.
It’s because of my Grandpa that I love playing cards, especially Hearts, and learned how to count them. I carry a pack of playing cards in my purse, an old habit from playing cards quite often in high school. The pack is for Coco-Cola, one of the smartest marketing campaigns ever with that adorable polar bear, and is quite worn around the edges. It replaced the 7-Up cards I had for years, which played many million rounds of Hearts, Spades, Kings in the Corner, and so many other card games.
I haven’t actually used the purse cards in a long time, but I like to be prepared. And every time I see the red pack peek out next to a lip gloss or pack of gum, I remember my grandfather and smile.
He’s my Guardian Angel and I wish he knew what his life, and his death, meant to me. Because it meant everything.
My Grandpa stands with his aunt Hallie on her 101st bday years ago.
Author’s Note: All work is copyrighted by the author.