We moved to 425 Riverside Drive as money started coming in. During the
three years we lived there, several things of lasting importance occurred. Grandpa was
sure his health would never fail, and for years treated increasingly bad digestion with
bicarbonate of soda. He became ill with stomach cancer.
I was ten and only knew I wanted him back home. A week or so after his
surgery, I was taken to the hospital to see him. He was in a ward (only wealthy people had
As he reached out a bony hand and held mine tightly, I remembered this
once-robust man coming home on a Saturday evening after spending the afternoon at the
wholesale produce market carrying a thirty-five pound sack of grapefruit in one hand and a
sack of oranges in the other. Id run out to greet him and hed smile and let me
"help" him carry part of the load to the apartment.
Now, his face was shrunken and I could hardly recognize his toothy
smile. There were all sorts of tubes coming out from beneath his blankets and trailing to
open pans on the floor beneath his bed. I held tightly to his hand, as tightly as he was
holding mine. "I love you Grandpa," was all I could think to say. I stood there
for I dont know how long until my father came to lead me away.
Grandpa died a few days later.