Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day! Mr Ralph Galluzzo

Happy Memorial Day to all those who have served our country.

My Poppy (Grandpa) Ralph Galluzzo served in WWII and the Korean War. During WWII he worked on the Yorktown, which when it was bombed had a significant impact on the War. The Yorktown was an aircraft carrier where he maintained planes and loaded bombs.

My parents and I were fortunate to have him live with us for a couple of years before his passing a little over a year ago. To me he was my little old Italian Poppy, bald and so New York Italian. During those couple years he opened up about his time during WWII where we were riveted with his tales of his jobs and the day the Yorktown was hit. We have 2 of his service trunks in our basement. When we opened them there are badges, a couple pictures and a long ribbon with "GALLUZZO" printed on it for his uniform jacket. The rest are a mish-mash of magazines and family memories. Even a handmade card from me when I was a little kid. My dad told me while he was growing up the trunks were not to be opened or talked about. Being present when they were opened was a touching feeling.

I got to know my Poppy pretty well and enjoyed spending time with him. When I worked close by we would have lunch everyday. I share my Poppy's love for construction and tools. As I strip the furniture I bought I miss him greatly because it would be a project for us to work on together. It's interesting to me as I get older how much my dad tells me my Poppy "would have done that" when I do these construction projects.

Like an retired elder, he and my Ma (grandma) lived in Florida where no matter which time of night we showed up they would be ready with Naval oranges in hand, like any Italian family, ready to fed us. My Poppy had a small but quick sense of humor where he would interject something totally out of nowhere. One night my Ma ran out of serving dishes and apologized for using a tupperware container where my Poppy quickly replied "it's the best looking tupperware container I have ever seen." That one still makes me laugh.

I sit here with a tear in my eye not for missing my Poppy but for the love I feel when I think of him.

And to all the other service men, women and children involved and effected, I give a Thank You to all of you for the freedom and life you have given me the privilege of having.

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