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.
Tis the season! The season when all the best laid plans for family and friend fun goes astray. Covid has reared its ugly head on my family again this holiday season.
My daughter, Allie and her boyfriend came from Texas on Saturday. By Monday, Patrick was sick. Tuesdays home covid test came up positive. Now we sit and wait for the regular test results to come back and hope it was a false positive. Steve, Allie and I did the home test too and they were all negative. And of course now all home tests are on backorder so Pat can not retest at home. We just wait …… 2-3 days of quarantine before the test comes back.
I hope it is negative. We just had my Mom and Tom and Pat’s family over for dinner on Sunday before all sickness broke loose. I hope they all didn’t get exposed and that it is just the other crud that is going around.
In the meantime, we will miss our annual bracoli making tradition for Christmas dinner with the extended family. Last year, each family made their own since we couldn’t all get together because some had the virus. Kirsten is staying away at her apartment in Cincinnati, but she was here Sunday too. I hate to think of her missing all this family time, while we are all stuck home together. She will go to bracoli making and stay with my mom, depending on the test results. I am missing dinner with friends while we wait. We are unable to go on planned family activities this week while we wait. I won’t be able to help set up and attend the Christmas activities at the AA club. The worst is I hate the wait.
I know the best laid plans often don’t happen. Having the Serenity Prayer in “tool kit” helps. I have to remember to “accept the things I cannot change.”. The last couple of evenings while we wait, I have enjoyed having Allie and Pat here, watching Christmas movies with Steve and I. I do miss Kirsten. I was so excited to have everyone home and under one roof. I know we aren’t the only ones in this waiting game. I am grateful that Pat is feeling better and that so far we are all fine. I just hate to have this damn covid mess up another holiday season. Last year I tested positive on New Years Eve as did Allie and Pat. We are all vaccinated and I believe that helps.
The best thing now is not to dwell on what we are unable to do and concentrate on what we still may be able to do. The best laid plans aren’t always your plan.
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.
Every year, a few days before Christmas, my family gathers to make our traditional holiday dinner …. beef braciole and Meatballs. My Italian father started this tradition many years ago when my adult daughters were very young. It was all about the kids helping with the preparations. My Dad loved spending time with his grandkids.
Thanks to Covid, this years braciole making looks a little different. Each family is making their own braciole and meatballs instead of gathering as an extended family. Unfortunately we won’t all be gathering for the Christmas holiday this year. We will be getting together in smaller family groups.
My beloved Dad passed away 10 years ago. The grandkids (5 girls at the time) were all fairly young. That first Christmas after his death, it was the girls who insisted on continuing Grandpa’s Tradition. Making beef braciole and meatballs is still a family tradition and it has withstood the test of time. It is a special time for my family to gather to honor and remember Dad/Grandpa. There is another grand-daughter in the mix, who is now 4 and never got to meet her Grandpa Vic. She no doubt knows though, how much he meant to our family.
Even though Covid this year may have changed Grandpa’s Tradition a little bit. We all hope to be back together as an extended family next year to once again continue on the tradition.