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.
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.