Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Thanks - Gone but Not Forgotten

It’s been way too long already since I’ve posted any 'Thanksgiving Thanks' and there are several reasons for that. First and foremost, I haven’t really been in the greatest of moods to be thankful lately. I know that I’m not the only person in the world with problems…in fact I’m pretty sure there aren’t any people in the world without them, but sometimes it's just hard to get it going. In the big scheme of things I’m happy for the life that I’ve got and like I’ve said before it’s just trying to work through the valleys to get to the peaks.

One of the other reasons I haven’t added to my month of thanks has been technical. I’ve been having pc problems, both with my scanner and my USB ports on my laptop. I had wanted to add some pictures to a couple of my TT posts and I haven’t been able to do so, until yesterday…

So here’s a little catching up. As I said in my first post, there’s plenty to be thankful for, and Thanksgiving time is a great time to pause and give thanks for the things and the people in your life that you've got. I appreciate many things in my life and I’m fortunate enough to have a platform such as this to share them. So without further adieu, here’s a special entry of people who are no longer with us, but have each made an indelible impact upon my life. I’ll be forever grateful to have had them in my life at one time and I miss each of them dearly.

Gone But Not Forgotten

My Nana

I really can’t say enough about my maternal grandmother, “nana.” Mary Randazzo was the second daughter of Frank and Annina Picarelli, born on December 23rd, 1911. She was my mom’s mom and was ever present in my life from birth until the time that she died in 1994. Nana was the coolest grandmother ever, and it was often comical how she and dear old Aunt Vi, her older sister, were polar opposites who often clashed, but still loved each other very much.

I like to think I got some of my sense of humor from nana. She was always joking around and was never afraid to poke fun at herself. I remember once she was babysitting me, my brother and my three cousins (all boys), and we played cowboys and Indians and tied her up to a chair, laughing the whole time.

She loved to sing too us, too, putting each of us on her knee and rocking us up and down while singing lyrics like “Ooh eeh, ooh ah ah, walla walla bing bang,” or “Ride a cock horse to Banberry Cross to see a pink lady upon a white horse.”

She also used to do this thing that I myself did later on in life with Joe’s nieces. Whenever we’d go to visit her and grandpa in the Bronx and we’d be in the car all ready to leave, she’d whisper in my father’s ear, “Hey George, make me look good.” Then she made believe it was she who gave the car the push it needed to get out of the driveway and on its way. I smile today just thinking about it! That was nana!

After graduating high school I left home to go to Fordham University in the Bronx and lived with nana and grandpa for a little over a year. During that time, nana took great care of me, cooking me three squares a day and just giving me lots of love every waking moment. I miss her dearly and it’s hard to believe she’s been gone so long!


By this point, I’ve already written much about my dad, George. All I want to say here is that in his death just two and a half years ago, I learned once again that old lesson that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone! We all still miss you dad!

Take a special read about me and my dad right here: The Last Gift.

Aunt Vi

Aunt Vi has also been the subject of many articles I’ve done. She was nana’s sister and like nana, she’d been around all of my life until just a little over two short years ago when she passed away at the age of 101. Aunt Vi was an inspiration to myself and many others with her nurturing ways, refined tastes and good sense of humor. I think I am as good a teacher as I am today because of the influence that both she and my nana had on my life, and I miss them both terribly.

Check out this piece about one of the happiest wakes I'd ever attended:

Aunt Vi Chronicles: Aunt Vi gets her due


Grandpa was another big presence in my life…well, he was a big presence in everyone’s life, actually. Joe Randazzo was a stocky, loud Sicilian with a loud mouth and a kind heart. Throughout his life he clashed with many, but when it came right down to it, he was a good man with a big heart!


Kevin Mullins is the only person on this list that wasn’t a family member. I wrote about him in the piece Remember Me way back in March. Kevin was a special person with a heart-light that shone brightly, as evidenced by his many, many friends, including myself. Kevin was the kind of person who’d give you the shirt off his back (which was actually something he did for me during our first date back in 1986), and he knew how to have a good time, as well. Kevin loved Diana Ross and Latino men, which was quite odd because he was a tall, thin, redhaired Irish boy from Jackson Heights…oh, Jackson Heights, huh? Scratch that last part, lol.

Anyway, Kevin died of an AIDS-related illness way back in the winter of 1991. He was 32 years old. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of him to share with you, but he was a real cutie! R.I.P. Kevin…thanks for being a part of my life and I’m looking forward to seeing you again one day!

So there you have it, five more things, well people, that I am thankful to have had in my life. Each of them has helped to shape who I am as a person today and they are missed each and every day. Stay tuned for more as I try to reach 30 things I’m thankful for for each of the 30 days of November. As always, thanks for reading!

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