July 30 08

i have a thing for old men.

not older men in an “ohmigoodlord Liam Neeson is HOT for a man his age” sort of way (which, i mean, yes, he is, but that’s not the topic for today. maybe tomorrow. is it getting hot in here?)

old men. like, grandfathers. great-grandfathers, even. i just love them. especially when i see them alone. on the subway. in restaurants. on the street. on park benches.

yesterday, i was in Tim Horton’s grabbing my morning large, and i spotted this old man sitting alone at a table, drinking his coffee and eating a donut (it was sour cream glazed, my favorite). in a trucker hat, Ashton Kutcher style. or Mom101 style. i suddenly wanted to run over and sit beside him. i wanted to plop down and tell him about my day yesterday. i wanted him to tell me his stories. i wanted to see him grin from ear-to-ear.

i wanted him to be my grandfather.

you see, it was the hat. my grandfather was king of the ironic hats. he may have been wearing them to cover up his bald head, but i really, truly believe he was wearing them to be funny. he was just that kind of man.

a man who survived the Dachau concentration camp and moved to Montreal (because New York wouldn’t take him, on account of his “radical” movements in the ghetto) to start a family and a new life.

a man who moved to Milwaukee (i know, right?) to help his only daughter raise her children. a man who would smile at everyone. a man who would burst into song (in broken yiddish-english) in the middle of Bayshore Mall. a man who would dance with the waitresses at his favorite restaurant (Baker’s Square)

a man who taught me to walk. to talk. to speak Yiddish and German. a man who let me pick the marshmallows out of the cereal box. A man who taught me to appreciate soap operas. a man who played barbies with me. and my little pony. and strawberry shortcake. a man who taught me how to ride a two-wheeler. a man who had more energy than i will ever have.

a man that i didn’t get enough time with.

a man i miss with all my heart. every time i see an old man in a hat.

(can we pause for a second and talk about the clothing that i am sporting in these photos? because…um…REALLY?)

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  1. What a sweet post. I love your grandpa, too! Makes me tear up a bit.

    Love the outfits! I think I had the same dark green floral corduroy overalls :)

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    Comment by Sarah on July 30, 2008
  2. What a great post. You made me think of my grandmother who I lost last yr.
    Your grandfather sounds like one special man.

    Mayas last blog post..Celebs

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    Comment by Maya on July 30, 2008
  3. Sniff Sniff, Oh Ali that was beautiful.

    Chantals last blog post..quick post

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    Comment by Chantal on July 30, 2008
  4. that was a really warm post – I want your grandfather too! I never got to know either of my grandparents so I always love other people’s grandparents!

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    Comment by Maria on July 30, 2008
  5. You made me all teary, girl!

    Also. You know Yiddish and German? AWESOME.

    Angellas last blog post..Wait. Where Was I?

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    Comment by Angella on July 30, 2008
  6. Awww, that was such a great post of your Grandpa:)

    The outfits…well, let’s just leave it at that;)

    Nap Wardens last blog post..Not So Wordless-Before-n-After

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    Comment by Nap Warden on July 30, 2008
  7. Man, the clothes are AWESOME. If they made them in adult size, I’d totally wear them. (You should see the silk-screened t-shirts and oversized bows I wore in the seventies. Yowsa.)

    nomotherearths last blog post..All I Want for August is my Two Front Teeth..

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    Comment by nomotherearth on July 30, 2008
  8. OK, so thanks. Now I’m sitting at my desk trying to wipe away tears as I think about my own grandfather (who had his own fashion eccentricities, including wearing navy blue boxers pulled up to his ribs underneath a white shirt, so that he had a banded colour look).

    And I love the overalls with the frilly shoulder straps.

    Beautiful post, Ali.

    SciFi Dads last blog post..Instinct

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    Comment by SciFi Dad on July 30, 2008
  9. That was really nice. I just lost my grandfather last week so of course reading that made me cry!

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    Comment by Anna on July 30, 2008
  10. I often think about my grampa when I see an older man in a hat, too. He was so good to us kids when we were little, but sadly he died when I was about 17.

    (And the yellow knee socks? Spectacular.)

    Assertagirls last blog post..Gone veggie.

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    Comment by Assertagirl on July 30, 2008
  11. So true!

    I am the same way when I see old men wearing “feed caps” or ball caps… always reminds me of my grandpa. he used to have them lined up in the back window of his car. All different colors.

    *sniff, sniff* I miss him.

    Jennis last blog post..The Day I Peed A Little

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    Comment by Jenni on July 30, 2008
  12. You know how crazy it is how much Isabella looks like you, eh?

    Love this post.

    Chantals last blog post..Wow. Where did I go?

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    Comment by Chantal on July 30, 2008
  13. So sweet. He sounds like my granddaddy. He & my grandmother moved in with us when I was a toddler to help my newly widowed mother raise me. He was the best!

    cristans last blog post..Wanna know what I’m doing?

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    Comment by cristan on July 30, 2008
  14. wow ali, this post hit me hard. it’s amazing how eloquently you write and how you can make people FEEL with your words. i love and miss my zaidy. and my bubby hasn’t been herself the last few months. she’s my beautiful bubby. and i want her to be here forever. forever, damn it!!

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    Comment by Tova on July 30, 2008
  15. Oh ouch. I miss my Poppi.

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    Comment by Miss Britt on July 30, 2008
  16. Ali what a sweet post about your grandfather.

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    Comment by LAVENDULA on July 30, 2008
  17. I completely heart you Ali. Your grandpa sounds awesome.

    Mine is the old man smell. The old man cologne, which one I have no idea, mixed with a slight smell of Listerine. But sometimes I smell it on a guy in an elevator and I want to go and hug him. That smell is something I hope to never forget. (My grandpa will have been gone five years on Halloween.)

    Issas last blog post..I swear the bitch was judging me

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    Comment by Issa on July 30, 2008
  18. Sniff. Warn me before I cry. Beautiful man. Beautiful story. And totally rocking outfit Ali.

    PS. I have been to that memorial outside of Munich.

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    Comment by ohmommy on July 30, 2008
  19. Oh, very sweet. I’ve been kicking around a similar post about my Grandfather. He was the king of cigars, bermuda shorts, black socks & bucket hats. And funnier than all get out.

    Thanks for reminding me of him today and making me smile.

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    Comment by AMomTwoBoys on July 30, 2008
  20. You made me tear up.
    I love old men, too.

    schmutzies last blog post..50×365 #312: Mrs. Knudson

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    Comment by schmutzie on July 30, 2008
  21. What a nice remembrance!

    Teena in Torontos last blog post..I got da blues

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    Comment by Teena in Toronto on July 30, 2008
  22. I have a lot of pictures of my grandpa, but the one I picked for my wall? He’s wearing a CAT cap. I adored him.

    (And I had the same wardrobe.)

    threeundertwos last blog post..Haiku Wednesday VI

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    Comment by threeundertwo on July 30, 2008
  23. Aw. That is so sweet. I love those pics and the way you talk about him…so sweet.

    Have you seen the movie The Holiday? There are two characters in the movie – younger woman/older man – that establish this great friendship. Made my heart melt.

    Jennas last blog post..A Little Bit Shady

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    Comment by Jenna on July 30, 2008
  24. Love, love, love this post. I am so with you on the grampa love and the need to insert a senior into your life to help fill the void of one who has left. I got into home nursing because of my love for the older generation.

    Hopefully your post will make everyone pause for a second today and do something nice for a random gramma or grampa!

    Lucys last blog post..Random memory – Children of the corn

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    Comment by Lucy on July 30, 2008
  25. oh ali, that was such a sweet post. from the words you wrote to the pictures you posted…you can literally feel the love that you have for him and how much you miss him.

    rachaels last blog post..go roni, go roni, go!

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    Comment by rachael on July 30, 2008
  26. That was a really sweet post. I feel the same way whenever i see someone playing a game of dominos. My grandfather loved to play and taught me and I always think of him whenever I see the game.

    Lissas last blog post..Gone For the Weekend… Again.

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    Comment by Lissa on July 30, 2008
  27. Sniff… that was a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

    Also, how cute were you?!?!

    chriss last blog post..Party Like It’s October 31st

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    Comment by chris on July 30, 2008
  28. I love that you have all of those pictures! Classic!

    Camels & Chocolates last blog post..Baffled by Banff

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    Comment by Camels & Chocolate on July 30, 2008
  29. That was so sweet Ali!

    And I share your love of the oldies.

    slynnros last blog post..Girl meets centipede. Hilarity ensues.

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    Comment by slynnro on July 30, 2008
  30. What a super guy. Wish I’d had a grandpa like that.

    Your clothes? It was great being a child of the 70′s.

    Queen of Shake Shakes last blog post..So Is This God NOT Talking To Me Anymore?

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    Comment by Queen of Shake Shake on July 30, 2008
  31. I love this post. It’s making me sniff in my cubicle.

    Mooses last blog post..Growing More Attached to this Whole Wedding Idea

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    Comment by Moose on July 30, 2008
  32. What a great tribute to a special man!

    Sarahs last blog post..Dancin’ Machine

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    Comment by Sarah on July 30, 2008
  33. Great photos and a wonderful post :)

    Chris Cactuss last blog post..31 Flavors of Stupid

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    Comment by Chris Cactus on July 30, 2008
  34. I always feel like that with the older grandfathery men. Like I should go talk to them and keep them company or help them with their groceries or something like that. Not sure why it is, suppose it’s just something with older people like a way to show respect for their years.

    Diannas last blog post..My Fair City

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    Comment by Dianna on July 30, 2008
  35. I liked reading about your Grandfather. It brought back great memories of my Grandparents. They would speak Yiddish, so the kin-da would not understand what they were saying.

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    Comment by Mitch on July 30, 2008
  36. I miss my grandfather with his funky hats and cords in July.

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    Comment by gorillabuns on July 30, 2008
  37. It’s funny that you posted this today; Justin Timberlake just came out and said that HE was the one who made trucker hats so popular.

    Better set him straight, girl.

    I love this post, Ali! So sweet.

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    Comment by mamatulip on July 30, 2008
  38. sour cream glazed is my favourite too

    hillarys last blog post..The Wriggling, Squiggling Worm Inside Devours From The Inside Out

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    Comment by hillary on July 30, 2008
  39. I love those pictures. My grandfather rocked a John Deere trucker hat for many years. Ah, Grandpa.

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    Comment by Kerri Anne on July 30, 2008
  40. My grandpa didn’t wear hats very often, except the bowler he wore to church.
    But I totally get what you mean about the older man thing.

    One grandpa was bald, the other had thick, snow white hair. When I see someone matching those descriptions, I smile.

    Antonettes last blog post..Family Fun

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    Comment by Antonette on July 30, 2008
  41. This was beautiful! My healthy respect for “Gunsmoke”, craptastical wrestling, a quiet nod that speaks a thousand words, poetry, and Irish whiskey stems from my own grandfather and his hat-wearing ways.

    Just plain loved this.

    differentkindofgirls last blog post..i know all there is to know about the crying game

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    Comment by differentkindofgirl on July 30, 2008
  42. I have tears in my eyes. So sweet.

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    Comment by swirl girl on July 30, 2008
  43. Aww Ali. My grandpa wore trucker hats too. Feisty old men!

    Misss last blog post..Shift

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    Comment by Miss on July 30, 2008
  44. That was a sweet post! MY grandpa wore trucker hats too, always ones we bought him as kids or ones he got on vacation.

    I miss him A LOT.

    Kristabellas last blog post..The Fabulous Life Of Kristabella

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    Comment by Kristabella on July 30, 2008
  45. aw. I feel the same way about my grandma. I miss her so much every day.

    heathers last blog post..Earth Shaking

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    Comment by heather on July 30, 2008
  46. Awww, Ali. I loved this post. What a beautiful tribute….

    Didn’t Justin Timberlake say HE’S responsible for that hat trened and not Kutch?? ;)

    Haley-Os last blog post..Eccentric and a Li’ Bit CARAZAY!

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    Comment by Haley-O on July 30, 2008
  47. With the hats!
    And the tribute!
    And the wicked style!
    I got shorted on grandpas.
    Meh.

    moosh in indy.s last blog post..Trots E. Cheese

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    Comment by moosh in indy. on July 30, 2008
  48. Ah man, I just totally teared up reading this. One of my grandpa’s passed away in June and it still gets to me.

    Kristies last blog post..Story time, part 1 : My most embarrassing moment as a teenager

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    Comment by Kristie on July 30, 2008
  49. Grandpa rocked, although all you needed to say was “Tim Hortons” to grab kudos from my clogging arteries. Thanks for the note on my DadCentric post. Hope to see more of you.

    always home and uncos last blog post..The Company You Keep

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    Comment by always home and unco on July 30, 2008
  50. What a wonderful post. It made me miss my Grandma Enes in a really bad way. She was a pretty awesome lady. One of those Cool grandma’s that everyone wishes they had. I love you Grandma! (she passed away about 4 years ago).
    Great post Ali, thanks.

    monstergirlees last blog post..Bees & Flowers – Day 2

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    Comment by monstergirlee on July 30, 2008
  51. Something tells me he was just as lucky to have you. How incredible to go from Dachau, possibly the lowest point in human existence ever, to survive and become a beloved grandfather who lives on in the words and spirit of his granddaughter. You honor him.

    Mom101s last blog post..Home Sigh Home

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    Comment by Mom101 on July 30, 2008
  52. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather!

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    Comment by Ruby on July 31, 2008
  53. Aww, this is such a beautiful post! I gots tears in my eyes!!

    Anyways, thank you for such a beautiful post. I picked my grandpa up at the airport yesterday to spend the next 11 days with us – and he’s kinda driving me crazy already. Thanks for the reminder that he won’t always be around and that I should really treasure this time!!

    Sarahs last blog post..A Gift for a Friend

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    Comment by Sarah on July 31, 2008
  54. I love looking at old family photos!

    Very sweet post, thanks for sharing!

    Multi-Tasking Mommys last blog post..Widening Wednesday Week 30

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    Comment by Multi-Tasking Mommy on July 31, 2008
  55. [...] « made famous well before Ashton Kutcher… [...]

    Pingback by Cheaper Than Therapy » Blog Archive » i have waited SEVEN years for this… on July 31, 2008
  56. Have you lost your mind! Your blogs are suppose to be funny, witty, silly. They are not suppose to make your sappy big sister cry like a baby! Love you.

    C

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    Comment by Charna on July 31, 2008
  57. Just amazing.

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    Comment by Amanda Leigh on July 31, 2008
  58. Your grandfather sounds like such an incredible man. I visited Dachau as a child (when we lived in Germany) and I can attest to the horror of that place. And also, your grandmother looks just like my maternal grandmother! Kind of weird, actually.

    Katies last blog post..Just Around the Corner

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    Comment by Katie on July 31, 2008
  59. How you make me cry and laugh in the same post is a real talent. Beautiful post.

    motherbumpers last blog post..talk to the hand

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    Comment by motherbumper on July 31, 2008
  60. Ahh you made me cry. He sounds/looks like an amazing man. And I was kinda diggin’ your outfits as a child. Does that make me lame?

    Marias last blog post..Tenderhearted.

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    Comment by Maria on July 31, 2008
  61. Oh Ali, I’m crying my eyes out over here! He sounds like he was a terrific guy.
    And I love old guys, too. There’s this one old guy at my church who looks JUST like my grandpa and who holds his wife’s hand as they walk down the aisle and it just KILLS me.

    Rebeccas last blog post..

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    Comment by Rebecca on July 31, 2008
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