Many of you have asked about the British Flag on my e-mail signature this month. Well, it's in memory of my Dad who passed away February 11, 2009.
My dad came to the US as an aeronautical engineer in the 60's. He lived in Montclair, NJ and loved to come into the city and listen to the big bands of that era...a favorite being the smooth sounds of Dave Brubeck and Peggy Lee. When he took a job in Atlanta with Lockheed, he met my Southern mother who had her eye on him. Their tale would include a return to England, through Bermuda and the birth of two children in two different countries. Atlanta became their permanent home in 1972-- their first house belonging to Dick Van Dyke.
On 9/11, my dad was one of the only people that understood the potential threats and fright that we felt. During WWII, his own parents, who lived in Portsmouth shipped him to his aunt in the Lake Region of England. He said his mother (who stayed in Portsmouth) would go to sleep in her bed on one side of the bedroom and would wake on the other side of the room due to the bombing. She went gray in a matter of weeks from the stress. When she came to get him, he didn't even recognize her-- she had to prod him with candy.
Years later, my Dad LOVED his trips up to NYC to visit. Visits always included steaks at Sparks, at least one night of Italian at Carmines, and cream tea at Tea and Sympathy. Cream puffs and eclairs from his favorite French bakery in the village were always waiting his arrival and nightly cocktails and jazz were a requirement as his favorite, Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle. Before he left, we all weighed a stone more and we were all pickled from the cocktails. I have a fond memory of an early morning stroll to Agata and Valentina where we stared wide eyed as they cut a huge mille feuille into slices-- we were sure the cream was going to come oozing out the sides (it didn't)-- of course, we had to take about 4 slices home to tell the story properly. Maybe it was our doing, but when he came to NYC he was on top of the world and frankly everyone treated him as such. My doormen loved him, my girlfriends all wanted to hit the town with us, and he was always telling a joke to someone.
After ten years in NYC, our family of 3 moved back to Atlanta to launch Connexiti, and I believe it was divine intervention. We had 4 1/2 years with my Dad. He loved his grandchildren more than I can explain-- he could be found on the floor urging them to crawl, giving them a cuddle, sneaking them sweets, and bouncing them on his knee. He was there for each of their births. I will always be thankful for that time.
|The Peachette and Granchier in 2007|
|Chomps and Granchier at his 70th birthday|
|Baby J and Granchier in 2007|
Tonight, we'll think about my dad and toast him with his signature cocktail... a Manhattan.