Pop Pop Louie

I know I just made a post about my grandma… and now I’m following it with a post about my grandpa.  Deal with it.

Pop Pop Louie is my grandfather on my dad’s side.  He died of cancer while my mom was pregnant with me.  No one ever really talks about him, so I don’t know much about him.  Occasionally someone will say, oh, he used to do this.  Or that.  I know he was an extremely hard-working guy, working about 5 jobs at one time.  One of those was pool cleaner for Plainedge High School – the asbestos in the pool room eventually led to his death via cancer.

Yesterday I was playing golf with my dad and my uncle.  And I heard a Pop Pop Louie story for the first time in 31 years.  It was something that no one in my family had even known either.

My uncle was out in Riverhead (deep Suffolk County) taking pictures for a school.  Because he was there on official business, he had to wear a badge.  A man about the same age as my uncle came up to him and said, “I couldn’t help but noticing your badge.  Colucci.  You related to a Louis Colucci?”

Since my grandpa died 31 years ago and this guy was about the same age as my uncle, he didn’t think much of it.  But he said, “Yeah, my dad’s name was Louis Colucci.”

“Did he work for Plainedge High School?”

My uncle was a bit spooked.  “Yeah.  He cleaned pools.”

“Well, I worked alongside him when I was much younger.  I could never forget the man.  He had a great hand in who I am today.  While I was working there, I had the opportunity to attend college.  But I couldn’t afford it, and so I was going to save up and attend a year or two later.  But your father said to me ‘If you don’t go now, you’ll never go.’  And he went even further – he actually paid my first year’s tuition.  This was a great man and I will never forget him.”

The man went on to graduate, become a police officer, raise a family and even paid my grandfather back.

It made me take a look at my life and I see where my father gets his generosity from and I hope to one day be as great as either of them.

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