|Grandpa with his WWII medals|
|With Teddy and Joey in 2009|
My daddy and his daddy had a complicated relationship, one which I will never claim to comprehend fully. Almost every time Grandpa came over, his reserved manner would fall away over the course of the evening's conversation, and he and my father would end up shouting at each other across the dinner table. Usually they argued about politics, but occasionally about moments in their personal history, events long past, the details of which were not always clear to me. I used to feel embarrassed, and sometimes quite sad, to hear them, but as the years went on I came to see something else in this ritual. I say ritual; it became so regular that we expected, and even anticipated, these outbursts, as they seemed to constitute a singularly effective way for two very stubborn men to communicate with each other. I think they even enjoyed it sometimes, as I know my father certainly loves a good argument, and warms to a worthy opponent. Nothing ever came of these quarrels, and the night would usually end with them shaking their heads in disbelief at each other and then saying "I love you" and "good night." It was normal. You always love your family, no matter how wrong you think they are.
|Grandpa and me, at Christmastime|
Grandpa used to say my name in a singsong voice when I was very little. I can distinctly hear him calling to me, with the emphasis on the first syllable, while the last two were a note lower and melded into one: "DAN-yell." I remember being uncertain about what his name was for many years, as my grandmother always called him Fred (the English equivalent of his Italian middle name), and he called her Rory (short for Aurora, which was her middle name; everyone else called her Cathy), but fortunately I didn't have to worry about it, as I called him Grandpa Costa. He was never the most affectionate of grandfathers, though he would suffer to be hugged and kissed at greetings and partings; but he showed his love in other ways. He would give warnings and tips, as I've said, always telling us to think about the future and not just what was happening right in front of us. He seemed instinctively (or maybe just from his own memories of youth) to know that we would quickly forget what he told us, and so he would repeat it often. He also used to hand out money (tens and twenties when we were young, fifties when we got older) to his grandchildren whenever he saw them--this was no small favour, as there are quite a lot of us!
|The grandchildren and great grandchildren of Joseph Costa|
Rest in peace, Grandpa. I love you very much, and I will remember you always.