Friday, November 13, 2015

"In The Living Years"

Her father abandoned her and her family when she was 2 years old for another woman, for another family.  Her mother died when she was in her early teens. Raised by her aunt for a while, she went to live with one of her sisters who couldn't be bothered.

I came across a copy of her Father's obituary in the newspaper. There was no mention of my mother, or her 3 sisters, or her brother or her Mother. 
(She is the little one in the photo. Her mother is on her right)  

Then, by the time she was a teen, she bore a son. She met my Dad at a dance, they married and my Dad loved her son as his own. They went on to have 7 more children. She worked when she could and volunteered at the USO when my Dad went off to war. They had nothing and she lived on what her friends and family could help with. He came back, worked two jobs  and they scraped and saved and bought a home.

She thought her church also abandoned her only to eventually find after many years that they hadn't. By the time she was in her 70's she was volunteering at church, sewing drapes and banners for them. She even made costumes (with no patterns) for one of the church fashion show luncheons. The woman could sew.

 She was a book fiend. She read all the time. Loved a good spy thriller. She loved the classic movies and all kind of music. She had an eye for Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp. JFK could do no wrong. The biggest soft spot in her heart was for the poor. She saved her loose change and would make a trip every so many years  to a poor little border church and donated the money. I witnessed when she allowed homeless into our home to feed them.

Her family would grow to include over 86 grand and great grand-children.

She helped me raise my sons when I was a young single mother.

She made some super yummy tamales.

In the last years I would call her a couple times a week during my commute home. We had this joke where when she answered the phone I would say in  a deep voice "Hello Clarice" and she would always reply "Hello Dr Lecter".


 She loved her Bruins and she would call the football team her "mijo's"


 She did her ironing every Saturday morning while watching old Laurel and Hardy movies and I used to hear her cry from laughing so hard.
 She wasn't perfect. She was feisty and very thinned skinned. She didn't trust many.  She lived with a lot of pain in her heart. But I also know she knew joy. Lots of joy. 

She was my mother and tomorrow it will be 6 years when we lost this incredible woman.  I still miss her and there have been many times I've reached for the phone to tell her good news. I can still hear her voice now. I think about her when I put a cloth hanky in my purse, or when I wear the earrings she gave me. And I smile when I think about how beautiful she looked at my nephew Greg and Jesse Aguilar​'s wedding.  

One of her favorite songs was "In the Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. And if you listen to it you might get to know her a little better.        

"I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years"

From "The Living Years" was written by Michael Rutherford and Brian Alexander Robertson

Thursday, June 5, 2014

With a little help from my friend


Beautiful early June morning.  Listening to Benny Goodman's "Sing! Sing! Sing!" on the radio on my commute to work. It is the best way to begin your day.  Isn't life grand?

The song made me imagine my parents dancing in some dance hall somewhere in the 20's. Having fun, being in love, laughing, having a blast. I wonder if they knew back then just how much they would touch so many lives? I wonder if they knew what kind of a legacy they would leave? Do they know I remember their words? Their stories? Did they know they would have 20 grandchildren and countless great-grandchildren?  Last count I think it was over 30. 

Do any of us know?


Yesterday I was complaining to a close friend that I felt regret  about the kind of mother I was when my children were young. She said to me "You did the best job you could. You were the best mom you could be and you were just what your children needed to be on their journey."

I was what my children needed in order for them to be on their journey. 

Their journey.

Oh! That brings tears of joy to my eyes!  Their journey! How wonderful is that? I am excited for them. I have peace knowing they will be loved and they too will love.


Isn't life grand? My health could be better. My savings account could be bigger. My love life...well...yes, that could be way better! Yet, I am so happy. I am so full of life. This crazy mixed up zany life. I love every bit of it!  I see the sad things that people do. I see it everyday. On the news. At work. The greed. The hatred.  The despair.  These are part of life. Every little bit of it.  Sometimes I fail. At work, at love. But never at life. I am learning that even with all of the mistakes and imperfections in my life,  this is how I grow. This is how I might become evolved. This is how I become whole.

I think I love the end of the day the best. Not because I get to be lazy or lounge around. I love the end of the day because the day happened. It happened and I was part of it. Whether it was a hard day at work or a fun day with friends or family. Maybe it just was a nice day with my little doggy. It happened and now I rest and reflect.


I think daily of my parents and I still weep for them. It does not mean I am not happy. It just means I miss them. I miss talking to them. I miss sharing with them. But still I am happy because look at all that they gave me. Look at the path they helped to pave for me. They used to walk with me and now I am on my own. It was not what I expected. Sometimes a little scary. But it is a glorious path. I walk the path with my shoulders back and my head held high and I proclaim "Here I am world"!  Here I am. Me. This speck of dust on this earth. Yet, I am significant. I do have purpose. Every step I take has purpose. Some steps are met with sadness. Some are met with laughter and friends. Some are met with death. But I take another step. I get through it. Somehow. 

Someone told me some tragic news. She and her family are going to embark on a very sad journey. I know how painful it will be for all involved.  I wish to hold my hand out and save her. But I can only hold her hand and try to comfort. Facing this will be hard. How do I tell her it is the crappy part of life and we all face it?  How do I help her  make sense of it? I could only share with her how important this journey will be for her and her family. I do not know who she will be once she walks through this journey. But I do know she will not be the same person.  And with this moment of sadness comes a moment of "being".


 I know that with every step I take, love and peace are with me. The love and peace I receive from friends...from little animals....from the plants and trees and every living thing on this earth.  Even those who have passed. I hold something they have given me close inside. Something that no one can ever take away. 

This is why today I am happy. This is why this Benny Goodman song brings me so much joy. The song that was written during a dark time in our history. A song that has joy and happiness. A song with passion and life!  This song that connects me with my parents again. With life and with death.

 My eyes tear up with all of the goodness there is. And there is so much.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Letter to my Mom on (what would have been) her 93rd Birthday

Happy Birthday Mom!
 It has been four years since you have been gone and it seems like just yesterday. I suppose I don't need to tell you how much I miss you! There have been so many times that I have some bit of news to tell you and for a instant I think about calling you. I think my drive home from work is the hardest, because that was when I would call just to check in.

There has been so many things that have happened since you left. First, did you know your "mijo's" have really been playing some excellent football? Dad was able to see some good games last year, but this year they were on a terror as well. Although they did not come in first in the Pac 12 South, we did beat USC in good fashion. Even I had some doubts before the game because SC had just come off a huge upset when they beat Stanford. We were on a 2 game losing streak and playing in the Coliseum. The cards were stacked against us, but we prevailed. And as always Mom, there were people in our family that seemed to take it a bit too personal. After all those Christmas's when USC was a powerhouse and "certain" family members would tease and torture you. Showing up to your house and making fun at the bowls UCLA was invited to. Who is laughing now, right Mom?  Funny how you were right about "them". Dad came to see that as well and one day he admitted that you had been right all along. He had not seen it before and sadly he came to find out on his own.

But  I can see you now shrugging your shoulders and saying "Oh well, what are you gonna do?". Just a silly game. And I was very proud of you that in the end you were a good sport by accepting Steve's invitation to watch the SC game at his house. That is showing you can be the bigger person and showing all of us that family comes first. Oh Mom,  you would be loving the team right now and loving Coach Mora. Finally we've got our Donahue back!!

Speaking of family, there have been some additions since you left. I believe Aiden was born the month following your passing. Then there's Miles. You would love Miles. I don't get to see him too often, in fact I think I have only seen him twice. But Jesse does a great job of posting pictures on Facebook and so I feel as if I am watching him grow up. Kristen has also had two more added to her small brew and so that would have made you a Great Great Grandma five times!  Mom, you should see Lorraine's boys. Andrew is playing varsity football at St. Paul. Camy is an excellent athlete of his own but he is still quite young. I love watching Camy play baseball. You can see how focused he gets. Love it! Gentry finished college and she is teaching children with special needs and Jeremy graduated from the firefighters academy. He wants to finish school before he joins any department but he is doing some volunteer work with a couple of local stations. Sidney has become an excellent soccer player and she is a wonderful little artist. And that Dylan of Tim & Debbie's is so smart. Both he and Noah are characters. Tim and Deb say that Dylan isn't focused on school, but I think he is just bored and is actually a lot more intelligent than they know! Some kids just learn differently. Same story with Steve's little one Jack. He hates school but he is no dummy. I think for most the part, all of your great grand kids are bright all in their own way.

Our family has not been the same since both you and Dad left. I think Dad was the last thread barely keeping us together! I try to stay in touch with some of my nieces and nephews and I've been in touch with all of my brothers. Ray had cancer and I believe he is done with his treatments. I have not seen him since his surgery but I have been getting glowing reports. I think he is going to beat it. I hear he is an excellent patient and follows his doctors orders to a "tee". And Joe is living in China. I can hear you now "Why would he want to live there?".  But you know Joe, never lets an opportunity slip away. I know he wishes you could have come to visit him in China. And Eric has been dating a lovely young lady. Everyone likes her and she has an adorable little boy named Roman. You would love him. She is a good Mommy and I know you would have noticed that right away. I remember the compliments you would give Debbie and Corrine about what good little Mommy's they were. And Kyle is still at the Sheriff's Department and he moonlights as a DJ. He loves it and seems pretty good at it. You would be pleased.

But it seems Mom you were the glue that kept us together. I understand this happens to a lot of families. It is a shame. But I promise to do the best I can to stay in touch with some of the kids. I also see my cousin Gloria from time to time. When I was not working I would drive out to her place and we went to the movies, lunch and even did some gambling. Shocking I know. I never thought I would be estranged from my own sisters. But I suppose it happens. I can only take care of myself and my family now and any extended family that wants to have a relationship with me. I'm sure you would agree.

Aw Mom, I miss you so much. I had no idea it would be like this when you left. I promised myself I would do my best to remember the things you and Dad stood for and to try and keep your legacy alive. Times are different now but I do try my best. Last Thanksgiving I was thinking about you and how you'd cook for the whole family (of course the girls would all bring the sides!). But I do not ever remember you complaining about it. It seemed like it was just accepted as part of your job. Of course, as you got older and your children started having Thanksgiving dinners of their own, you did not mind when we went out for dinner on Thanksgiving or even went to Puerto Vallarta!

I won't even get into the political mess our country is in. However, you would have a field day with the crazy right wingers. There have been multiple shooting incidents around the country and there is this huge gun debate going on right now. The country is very divided. I am not sure where this country is headed but so far it looks like it is hell in a hand basket. I have not lost hope that we can turn it around. There is so much junk and trash out there now. Kids are not raised to respect others, there is so much entitlement out there and the things that young people value is sad to see. But I have not lost hope and I know all I can do is do my best to help others. I haven't forgotten how much you would help the poor. As feisty as you were you always had a soft spot for the poor.

Has Dad found you? I believe he had a tough time passing over. I just think he was not ready and felt he still had "stuff" to take care of. But I know you are happy and I appreciate your visits to me. I have heard your words and I try to keep them close in my heart. I am waiting for Dad to visit so I will know he is at peace. I did see the hawk that flew over my head on the day he passed away and I know that was him. Strange coincidence, my friend Aileen gave birth to a little girl the same day Dad passed away. Isn't that awesome? Give my Dad a hug for me.

 I know you are with me and I can feel you sometimes. Most of the time it is when I am cooking. But I also see you in other places.Especially when I wear the gloves you gave to me. How did you know I would need them so badly now!  I also pay homage to you when I am taking care of my little garden. I still have one of your plants! I almost lost it but was able to bring it back to life. I am just waiting for a bloom to come but it has been four years now!

Happy Birthday Mom. I know your life's journey was not easy but I know you are at peace now and have found the love you wanted for so long.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Brunchin with the ladies....

Bloody Marys, Mimosas, frittata, croissants, fresh fruit, samosas, coffee, apple, pear and berry tarts, whole grain with chickpea salad, muffins, basil sausage and bacon.

Talked about kids going to college, mistakes we think we made as parents, first marriages, how no one is currently doing anything remotely close to what they studied in college, dating after fifty, our elderly parents and our take on Breaking Bad. Trips to Spain, riding our bike through Europe. Someone was celebrating 35 years of marriage and someone was soon to be celebrating 5 years of being cancer free. Someone talked about the challenges of having a child with autism and another told us a story about how she just kicked her son's girlfriend out of the house. Someones daughter sings opera music and some are looking for their next career move.

Ten ladies together on a Sunday afternoon in La Crescenta and the only thing that tied us together was Madeleine. This was how all conversations began: "How do you know Madeleine?".  Some of us worked with her, some of us met her through other mutual friends. The question was asked and answered and then we were off to the races! One story leading to the next. Chatting over delicious food, some with a little buzz others preferring just juice or water. Ten ladies, not all over fifty but all intelligent and alive.

It may seem strange and you may not be able to relate, but I do yearn for women friends close to my age.

Do not get me wrong, I love my younger friends. The youngest of my friends is just twenty-seven years old, and yet she is wise beyond her years. I love the time we spend together and it seems like we can talk for hours upon hours from everything from finances to healthy recipes. I would not change a thing from my friendship with her. I actually learn from her.

But there is something so wonderful about sharing with "seasoned" women.

There is a certain acceptance that happens after turning fifty. Acceptance about each other and more importantly about ourselves. It is nice if you still wear make-up, curl your hair or wear high heels. But it is really okay if you don't. It's okay if you color your hair and it's okay if you want your beautiful gray to shine. The important thing is knowing who you are and being comfortable with that.

Yes, I am quite sure there are plenty of younger women who believe they are comfortable with who they are. However, you really don't know who you are or what you are made of until you have the experience. The experience that comes with life and all that life has to offer. Sometimes life hands you pain and sometimes it hands you joy.

Does everyone need trials, tragedy or experience  in their life in order to have self realization?
Perhaps not always. But that experience always makes the journey so worthwhile.

And while it may not feel so wonderful, one of the great things about being fifty (or over) is  that so many of us are still hungry. Not necessarily ambitious....but hungry. Striving. And while it might seem like a struggle and honestly who wants to struggle...the beautiful thing about struggling is there will be a release. And when you find that you can let go and stop the struggle is when you can really begin to live again. It is taking that huge, deep breath of clean fresh air and feeling so alive. You will stop asking "what do I want to do now?" or even "Can I do this?" and then,  you will just "do it". It might take baby steps, but you will take them.

I believe I learned the most since I turned fifty.

 The most important thing I've learned is that I still have a lot to learn. I can take the experiences I have had and learn from them. I might make some of the same mistakes again. Maybe again and again. But I will learn. Deep breath. Release. Now move on. Learn some more. You think to yourself  "If I only knew then what I know now". But you don't ever want to go back. You've come to really know the phrase "spilled milk".

Then you take another deep breath. Enjoy. Smile. Cry. Laugh. Hug. Buy that new lipstick or those new shoes you don't really need. Wear your Chuck Taylor's. Read that book or watch that old movie and vacuum tomorrow. Shrug off the time you cried at work.  Have lunch with a friend. Ride your bike and think of the times you skinned your knee when you were six. Take that  Tylenol to ease life's aches. Sometimes you take them with a glass of cool white wine (life's pain not the Tylenol). Cook something your mom or grandma used to make. Cry some more. Laugh some more. Take care of business. Think about dreamy kisses. And when you turn off the light and lay your head down on your pillow, think about those babies you used to hold in your arms.

A few years ago I had one of my many revelations. When this happened I adopted a song and every time I hear this song I am reminded that life is good. I am reminded that I survived. I did it and I am ready to do some more.

When I turned fifty my friend Julie said to me "You have arrived"!

 And it was true. I had arrived.



When explanations make no sense 
When every answer's wrong 
You're fighting with lost confidence 
All expectations come 

The time has come to make or break 
Move on don't hesitate 

Don't stop to ask 
Now you've found a break to make at last 
You've got to find a way 
Say what you want to say 

When situations never change 
Tomorrow looks unsure 
Don't leave your destiny to chance 
What are you waiting for 
The time has come to make your break 

Don't stop to ask 
Now you've found a break to make at last 
You've got to find a way 
Say what you want to say 

Don't stop to ask 
Now you've found a break to make at last 
You've got to find a way 
Say what you want to say 

Some people stop at nothing 
If you're searching for something 
Lay down the law 
Shout out for more 
Breakout and shout day in day out 

Monday, September 30, 2013

OK, so THAT happened!

And by "that" I mean I finally set up my website and now my little business is on a roll.

I had been thinking about setting up a little studio for my art. I got my DBA "Watercolors on the Blvd", a Federal I.D. (which apparently any Joe Schmo can do!), I opened up a business bank account and my last step was to set up a website.

Originally, since I had my blog I was not going to have a website. But it seemed like any independent artist that I would meet would ask "What is your website name?"  Gulp. OK...get to work again. And brother it was work! Especially for a computer illiterate like me!!  Now I know why people hire other people to set up their sites. Mine is simple...which works for me.

If you have another minute, please visit!

Next stop...paint, paint, paint!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My apologies to you, Mr. Hanks!

I must tell you Mr. Hanks, I completely disagree with you. There is crying in baseball, and plenty of it!

In fact, I can tell you specific times when I have not only cried but have completely balled my eyes out!  In baseball there is so much emotional going on, I don't know how there isn't more crying.

Yes, yes I know, it is a "guy" thing and men don't like to cry in public. Especially baseball players. It is such a gritty and psychological  game that baseball players actually cannot allow themselves to be seen as vulnerable. There is a code.  I get it. I will give you that much. But what I know, is that I do cry and there is crying in baseball.

Why? When? Where does this crying take place?

There are many times that crying is involved but I do know of  three specific times when crying in not only involved, but it is very very appropriate!

Here are three times where crying is involved in baseball:

Opening Day:   If you live in Los Angeles and have never been to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium you do know what you are missing. It is the essence of being an Angeleno and of being a baseball fan. I admit I did not attend my first Opening Day until later in life and now I'm hooked.  I think I have attended about 8 Opening Day games. The first few games I attended were with my son Eric and my niece Candice. Candice normally rents a limousine for the day and we plus a few of her friends pile into the limo and arrive at the stadium for a little tailgating before the game. I haven't joined them now for a few years and the Stadium has been a little more restrictive about tailgating. However, I believe it is very important to arrive to the game when the gates open, which is usually 2 hours prior to game time.
Our view from our seats Opening Day 2013
  Since it is normally in April, the chances that the weather will be picture perfect are quite high. You get your Dodger Dog, grab a beer and head for your seats. I personally prefer being in my seat early. For one, I don't have to deal with the crowd and secondly I feel like I am part of the action. What I mean, is I feel like I am not just a spectator but part of the whole show. It is a similar feeling when you are performing before a crowd. When I was in school and played the flute in the orchestra we were always instructed to be in our seats an hour before the performance was to begin. We (the orchestra) would get into our seats, polish up our instruments, warm them up a little, maybe do a little chatting with fellow musicians or maybe practice some of the more difficult pieces. I was in my element and I knew that was what I was destined to become.  So for me, being at the game early is almost the same feeling. 

Eventually, after both teams have come out to stretch and warm up, the pre-game festivities begin and so does my crying.

Every year the Dodgers put on different pre-game festivities. One year they set up a sort of  "Field of Dreams" event.  They would display the younger picture of a retired Dodger on the screen and then the actual player would come out to the field. It was beautiful. Eventually there was a group of about 20 or more old timers out on the field. Then they announced the current line-up and all players were out on the field. My description is not doing the moment any justice but it was an experience I will never forget. Tears were appropriate.

Every Opening Day is different and I always look forward to what the pre-game festivities will be.
One event that always takes place is a fly over. Normally it is the Stealth Bomber which always gives me chills. One year they had both LAPD and LAFD helicopters fly over in honor of fallen officers.  Right before every flyover there is the display of the flag.
Opening Day Dodger Stadium 2013

Due to the government budget cuts, there was no flyover in  2013. But these moments still bring on chills and tears. 

Pre-game Honors:  Before every game the Dodgers have special guests come out to the field for various reasons. Sometimes it is a corporate sponsor, sometimes it is an actor or some other performer. For Hello Kitty Blanket day they had a big Hello Kitty throw out the first pitch. If it is a certain nationality day they might have a singer from that particular nationality come out. Some games they have military personnel. In fact, this season they now have a "military person of the game" that is honored.

For me, the most moving honors are the heroes of the LAPD and LAFD. They will have the honored officer or officers come out and stand on the baseline. Then the announcer goes one by one to introduce each officer and explain what action the officer took in a particular situation. This always brings on the flood gates. If you know me you would know I am a staunch supporter of the police and fire department, but especially the police. And the stories and actions these particular officers have taken are extraordinary. All have risked their life to save another person.

There is one officer and story in particular I will never forget. Her name is Kristine Ripatti,  I knew of her story before they honored her at Dodger Stadium because I happen to read the article of the incident she was involved in when it happened.

She was attempting to arrest a man who had reportedly just robbed a gas station. He shot at her, hitting her in the upper torso and twice in the arm. The bullet lodged behind her bullet-proof vest. Her partner, shot and killed the suspect and was credited for saving Kristine's life by blocking the blood flow from her wounds. I remember the story because it seemed so senseless and tragic. I recall reading about how her husband, another LAPD officer, was informed of the incident and his reaction. It was gut-wrenching.  I followed the story through the newspaper and after a while it wasn't news anymore and I lost track of her. I knew she survived but I never knew what became of her. The incident took place in 2006.

Then, a year or so ago, there she was. Dodger Stadium, pre-game honors. She looked great and she was in a wheel chair, paralyzed from the waist down. I could not believe my eyes. What a moment. I was happy to see her and so sad to see her in a wheel chair. I thought about how she probably loved being a cop. I thought about what kind of strength she must have to be able to sit there and smile and wave at all the fans. It made all of my complaints and problems seem so trivial.  I cried then and I am crying as I write this.

She is now a motivational speaker, a body builder and she and her husband own and operate an officer safety product business. She also had a child since the incident. She and her husband had a daughter before she was shot.

Here is a link to her story:

World Series:  Yes, World Series. I cry at World Series games. No matter the winner. I know I shouldn't. These guys make millions of dollars and why should I be happy for them? They don't care about me! Right? Besides, it is not like they are saving lives.

But, it's baseball. Our National pastime. These guys who hit a ball with a piece of wood, who chew tobacco and spit and scratch themselves. I am happy for them and I cry when I see how full of joy they are. Because with all of the wars, the street killings, the world turmoil, we have these guys to transport us to another place. Because their joy is not about making the big bucks, it is about working hard and focusing on your work and seeing all that hard work come to fruition. And isn't that a great feeling? I cry because I know that for seven months these men have lived with each other, men of different ethnic backgrounds, some not even knowing any English, and yet they did something a team....through thick and thin. They may not be heroes like Ofc. Kristine Ripatti...not even close. But they are my heroes.

I remember for so many years I could never figure out why a team, when losing a game by a lot would not just yell "uncle"? Why bother? You are already down 10 to 0, bottom of the ninth, why bother? I asked one of my sons, Kyle, and he said "Mom, you NEVER give up. NEVER.". It took me some time but eventually it sunk in. Never give up. Never stop trying. Never stop trying to help others. Never stop helping your team. And when you's okay to jump and down......and it is definitely okay to cry.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sam I am

Sam at my Dad's Birthday Celebration

Sam is married to my niece Laura and Laura is the daughter of my brother David. Together, Sam and Laura have 2 children.  Sam is a successful entrepreneur and optometrist owning his own optometry business in Simi Valley. To say Sam is a likeable person is an understatement.  He comes from a lovely family and after you get to know him it is obvious that he was raised right.  And aside from his good nature and good manners, the guy has a killer sense of humor.  I always say he is the Justin Bateman of our Arrested Development family. He is the straight guy with that wickedly dry sense of humor.
When my father passed away, Sam wrote a letter about my dad and sent it to his in-laws (my brother and his wife).  My brother then forwarded the letter to the rest of his siblings.  To honor my father for this upcoming Father’s Day, I have copied the letter here to share.  (with Sam’s permission)
To Sam:  Thanks for being “real” and for speaking from your heart. 

Dear David,
I wanted you to know what your father meant to me.  Joe Aguilar was a quiet, humble man; a true gentleman.  There are few men I have admired more.  Though we were not blood relations, I was honored he allowed me to call him Grandpa.
It has been over 25 years since I met Laura and entered into the Aguilar Family.  From the beginning, I always knew who the Patriarch was.  Grandpa never demanded respect, especially from the grandkids, it was always given. Grandpa always welcomed me: he made me feel like I was a part of His family.
In the later years, he would come and stay with you.  I so enjoyed sitting and hearing his stories, his life.  Like many men of the Greatest Generation, he told stories of himself grudgingly.  Never one to boast, his stories were of the struggles he endured.  One thing about all his stories, family was always first.  Grandpa taught me 2 great lessons; love of Our Lord and Love of spouse and family.  Funny how those two lessons are so related.  I can not think of Grandpa without Grandma, the two will always be together.  They remind me of this verse:

Genesis 22:17   I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars in the sky and the sands of the shore.

A man born with little, leaves so much. I will always be proud to call Joe Aguilar my Grandpa.  God Bless You!