Family gathered around their home making memories. I even went there by myself for a vacation in ninth grade. It was a magnetic place. They had bacon, cokes, and barbeque potato chips, cherries in season, rare treats at my house. There were trips to the river and to the beach always and sometimes water skiing at Lake Bereasa. I remember their father, Uncle Paul, threatening to put a board down the middle of their bed because of the brothers fighting. I'm sure he had made good on that threat in the past. Their home was a haven for their friends as well as well as for foster and adopted ones.
I remember Paulie before he went to Vietnam and when he came home. He had his huge speakers and electronics purchased overseas that filled the living room belting out "Wendy" and other songs of the day. But Vietnam broke him. Deep in his heart, there were hurts and memories he tried to drown out, his own personal war. When alzheimers caught him in a trap, he was worried that they were going to draft him again and send him back to Nam, marked for life.
He eventually found a good woman and raised two beautiful daughters. They stood by their man. Perhaps that was the crowning achievement of his life broken by sorrow knowing he was loved by his girls and his family. He was still and always will be sweet Paulie to me, my hero for winning his battle.