A Wee Bit of Writing

I have decided to take a serious stab of putting together our family story in somewhat of a memoir form. We are going into our 70th year of owning and operating a family pizza chain that was started by my grandfather. There is a lot of family history and family dynamics as a result of this business. My job as “the writer” is to make sense of the family and record our history for future generations.

I am currently taking an online memoir writing course and reading up on the discipline. So far it is an interesting course and I have already learned a lot, but I am know where ready to start putting it all together. It is all still swimming around in my head. There is a story to tell, a story that needs to be told and a history to preserve.

Before my Dad passed away in 2010, he started recording his version of the going ons of the family and the business with the hopes of putting together a book. In his honor, I want to finish what he started so long ago. I have started once again listening to these recordings. To hear his voice again; the joy, the laughter and his undying faith is a gift that I treasure. Of course there were tears, but also smiles in hearing him and remembering him. I sure do miss him. Time may dull the pain of losing him, but it never fully goes away.

I am not sure why now. I just feel strongly that it is time, it is something that I have been thinking about for a long while. I am excited by the prospect and the process of writing this story. I am sure it will drudge up a lot of memories, both good and not so good. There are very people left on this earth who can help tell the story from the beginning and I need to tap into that for an accurate account of things.

As I progress, I may share some of the writings of this book here on my blog for my very small audience. I am not looking to do a widely published memoir, but more of family legacy book to be shared and passed down to future generations and of course to share with those who were impacted and lived the business.

A little bit of Fall

The leaves are starting to turn and the weather is getting cooler. It is October. Every early October for the last 5 years I have had my niece, Caroline, while her parents travel. Those 6 days were busy, full of adventures and exhausting. I love having this little girl, she is sweet with a little bit of sassy. She is a very well adjusted 6 year old. This year she seemed to miss her mom just a little bit more. FaceTime was a life line. a couple of temper tantrums that I found myself having little tolerance for, Steve was actually the voice of reason on most accounts. All in all we had a lot of fun. We visited the pumpkin patch, went to a festival, visited Kirsten and went to the park in Cincinnati and went to a class to make kitty cat caramel apples. She also had school (with couple of days off) and soccer practice. I was fully aware of my age as she is the energizer bunny. I love fall as the temperatures cool down, football, fires and pumpkins!

Right on the cusp of fall we had our 8th annual family foundation golf outing. The outing was a great success with proceeds going to 4 Paws for Ability, service dogs for vets and those with disabilities. it was so much fun and dogs from the program joined in the activities. My girls and Patrick were home for a long weekend. It is the first time they have all been home for the outing in many years. It was so wonderful. I loved having my family under one roof, if only for a couple days. Pat played golf with Steve, while the girls and I helped run things. Steve got a hole in one on the course at the prize hole – it was very exciting, and a great win! When all was said and done I had full house withdrawals. Even after all these years of having an empty nest it is still hard to let them go. Both Allie and Kirsten are doing well in life and are successful well adjusted adults. I am very proud of both of them.

My volunteer gig also had their fundraiser and I was on the event committee. That too was a great success. That night I got a text from Steve to come pick him up. He was at a local nice restaurant. I asked him if he was drunk, and he said yes. I could not get a hold of him and was getting quite angry. He finally called and was on his way home, driven by one of the patrons he struck up a conversation with. I got home and he was crashed, totally incomprehensible. He kept saying something is wrong, I wanted to take him to the ER but he could not get up off the couch so I had to call the squad, He was in bad shape. Turns out he had less than 2 drinks. Something fishy was going on. The ER doc. chalked him up to a common drunk when in reality it is obvious that something was put in his drink. The man who befriended him at the bar and drove him home said he was fine and normal and a second later was totally loopy. The family dr. agreed with the assumption that something was awry and that something had to have been put in his drink. The dr. is having all sorts of tests being done to rule out anything else. His alcohol level was 212 – so clearly it was the drink. The ER doc did not do a urine test which would have immediately told the tale. So now we are left with a mystery. It was scary and he is now doing fine. It is sad to think that someone would do that, especially at a nice upscale bar / restaurant – but is scary that it can happen anywhere.

So – so far this little bit of fall has been busy, fun and kind of crazy. Not to mention the scare of alcohol poisoning. Next stop, a visit to our condo in Florida and halloween.

A Little Family History

Today is the 68th anniversary of the start of our family restaurant business. 68 years ago my grandfather started the business. In the early 90’s, my dad, and a partner bought the company and took over operations and ownership. That partnership did not last and so my dad became the sole owner/operator. Upon the unexpected passing of my dad in 2010, my two brothers did not miss a beat in taking over the company.

My dad was a smart guy, he started succession planning in the early 2000’s. It was my choice not to become an owner/operator (in-training) at that time. I was a mom with 2 young children and that is all I wanted to be. I did work in the company in several different capacities throughout the years. In a nutshell I pretty much handled coordinating marketing efforts and customer relations.

My brothers and I were the 3rd generation of the family to run the business. I retired 3 years ago …… I was unfulfilled and I felt I made a better sister than employee. As of now there are no great grandchildren of my grandfather that are interested in taking over the business – no 4th generation. There are 6 great granddaughters who range in age from 5-26. My girls are already grown and started in their “adult work” life. Who knows what my nieces will end up doing, but it doesn’t look like owning and operating the business. This makes me sad. We have come through so many trials and tribulations with this business and today it is quite successful once again.

My husband started working with the company a couple years ago as a consultant. Today he is full time at the business. He is helping my brothers navigate the future of the company and the day to day operations. Sales continue to be good despite the covid pandemic and expansions are taking place. I do feel a little left out, no longer being a part of the business, but still bearing the name the company as part of my name and heritage. It is a mixed up emotion.

I am proud of the work that is being done through the company and our family foundation. I am sure my dad is smiling down on us all …. and maybe my grandfather too (he is a whole different story) as we celebrate this milestone.

It is a good day to reflect on where we have been as a family, a business and important part of our community for the past 68 years …. the good, the bad and the ugly. I have been thinking of my dad a lot too as we just marked the 11th anniversary of his passing. I wish he was here to enjoy the fruit of his labor and the success of his children and grandchildren.

It will be interesting to see where the future takes this family and our restaurants.