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So, after writing my short story, We Called Him TaTa some time ago, I realized that I wrote that pasta to honor a man that meant so much to me, to all of us really. I wrote it and shared it, because I wanted to share TaTa with all of you. I was thinking on it tonight, and realized that in doing so, I only told half of the story. So, in the spirit of a great man, who was one part father to me, and one part big brother, one part best friend, and 100% grandfather, I thought that I would share a bit more about him, no in story form, but simply in a blog honoring his memory.
We called him TaTa, but his name was Vincent Giuffre. Born the into a poor family or Italian immigrants, TaTa learned early in life that hard work is a corner stone to success. Growing up in New Orleans, his father owned a small grocery store called Giuffre's Grocery. This was of course long before the super markets would sweep through the city and put such places as Giuffre's out of business.
TaTa grew up in a tradition Sicilian home. Which meant lots of great food, lots of Catholicism lots of close knit family love and focus. TaTa's mother died when he was young, something that he rarely spoke of, but when he did, a small tear would always find a way down his cheek.
He was drafted into World War 2. Funny story, because of his height, of which there wasn't very much, he was initially told that he didn't make the requirements to go into the Army. As he was turning to leave, another officer pulled him back into the exam room, and this time, it was decided he could serve.
He toured Europe, and had plenty of stories to tell me later in life about all the women that he swooned and all of the fun times. He was never really on the front lines, so luckily he came home very much in one piece.
Returning to New Orleans, he met Geneva Sanders, a young nursing student. They would date, and after a very short time, about 3 months, he would propose. They married, and had three children. One of which was Sandra Lynn Giuffre, who would later go on to become Sandra Kellum, and have one child, me.
Once the big store chains came in and took over, Giuffre's closed its doors, and Granny (Geneva) and TaTa would move to the newly developed New Orleans East.
From then on, life was lived. Family gatherings, lots of love. Good times and a few bad. Just like in my story, I didn't know my father growing up. I did have TaTa though. While it wasn't always ideal, me being a free spirited kid and TaTa being of the old school, he loved me enough to put up with my foolishness and help mold me into an adult.
My mom worked, so during the school year, I would often go over to TaTa's after school to do homework. I used to see him as a task master, standing over me as I completed one boring assignment after the next. It would be years before I realized how great of a gesture that was. To him, it must have been boring to stand there, watching a kid solve basic math, while he could have been watching the news or napping. However, he did it out of love, and he didn't phone it in either. He made me do school work until I got it right. Perhaps he helped to mold my writing talents as well.
Then came Hurricane Katrina. TaTa never evacuated for a hurricane. He was afraid that looters would come in and rob him. Plus, New Orleans gets a major hurricane every year. Every year that claim it's going to be the doom day hurricane, and every year it blows over. I suppose TaTa didn't think Katrina would turn into the nightmare that it did.
To all of our shock and horror, we learned that he drowned in his home. Granny was able to climb to the roof, and she is still living out in Atlanta, GA. TaTa though, sadly, fell while trying to exit his home. We believe that while he was down, a piece of furniture floated into him, injuring him further. Granny simply didn't have the strength to pull him from the ever rising water. I will never be able to fathom her pain, sitting on the roof, and knowing that he was down there.
Not a day goes by that I do not think of something that TaTa taught me. Some lesson that he passed on. He was a wise, kind and funny old man. The world lost a wonderful person during that hurricane.
I wanted to sit down here tonight and share a bit more of him with you all. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for accepting his story, We Called Him TaTa here on this amazing site. It's certainly not a horror story, nor is it really even a Creepypasta, but you all gave amazing feedback for it and I thank you once again for that.
Vincent Giuffre TaTa
You are missed and loved each and everyday. I know that you'll be wearing the biggest smile on the day that we are reunited once again.