Remembering my grandfather
By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (Composer-Lyricist)
I've been going back and forth on whether or not to post this on here. Part of me thinks it could be construed by some as being in poor taste and then part of me thinks there isn't a tribute greater than to share this speech on the internet and with the world. But three weeks after I buried my grandfather, there's a voice inside me begging me to share these words with you all, so I feel I must.
My grandfather passed away suddenly on April 29th. I was asked to give the eulogy at the funeral on May 3rd (which is super late for Jews -- usually we like to get the body in the ground ASAP). Miraculously, I was able to get though the whole thing that day without totally breaking down. My grandfather served in the Army in the 1950's. And while he did not pass away during his service in the military, this coming weekend being Memorial Day weekend I can think of no better way to honor his memory than to share the eulogy with you all. Remember to always spread love and put positive energy into the world, and if you enjoy alcohol, have a Dewars on the rocks this weekend. It was my grandfather's favorite.
The drive from my grandparent’s apartment in Wilmington, Delaware to their beachside condo in Margate, New Jersey is roughly 80 miles and takes about an hour and a half depending on traffic. It's not a particularly long drive by any standard, unless you are a five year old kid with a short attention span, in which case it is the longest drive ever endured by humanity.
I can't tell you how many times I made that trip as a kid, but suffice to say it was a lot. My grandfather preferred to eschew the major highways, opting instead for the more scenic route. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was a particular stroke of genius when dealing with his young, tempestuous grandson, because dotted along the route he took were various "landmarks", as I liked to think of them. There was a giant wooden rocking chair. There was a house that displayed dozens of two-gallon jugs, painted different colors and arranged in different patterns each time you drove past. And when we’d approach one of these landmarks, my grandfather would point and say: ”Gregory!” - he always called me Gregory, never Greg - ”Gregory! Look! lt's the chair!” "Look, it’s the house!”
Looking back, I think those trips were the highlight of his summer. What he didn’t know was that they were the highlight of mine as well. The Trident gum I was given the moment I hopped into his Cadillac (which was a real treat given that my pediatric dentist mother despises all forms of gum). The mornings in Margate waking up to freshly squeezed orange juice in the kitchen. The evenings after spending a sun-soaked day on the beach listening to the surf rolling in from ten stories below.