From Froggie, With Love

The last time I saw my dad was Christmas 1998.  Less than 3 months later, I would get that dreaded phone call.  He died suddenly at the age of 86.

Dad Christmas 1998

My Dad – Christmas 1998

In the days surrounding his funeral, I heard many stories from people about what a good man my father had been … many of these people I barely knew and some had travelled from nearby towns to pay their respects.

I’ve learned a lot about my dad in the years since he’s been gone.  Each story of his kindness and generosity has touched my heart.  I loved my father dearly, but I had only the faintest inkling of the impact he had left on others.  His generosity had been personal and very discreet.

I recently received an email from a dear friend I had in high school.  In the email was a picture of her taken with my parents – probably a summer of two before my dad passed away.

My dad had called her Froggie.  It had been an endearment.

Froggie lived just down the street from us.  We had classes together and played sports together – unlike me, she was actually a very talented athlete.

We had our first summer jobs together, and in our final year of high school, we spent many hours studying at my house … drinking endless cups of coffee and eating stale licorice.

After high school, we went in different directions … different cities, different careers, different lives.  We have rarely seen each other over the years … but while my parents were still alive, Froggie would continue to drop in to see them whenever she was back in town.

I often heard about these visits from my mom.  It meant a lot to them.

Froggie’s unexpected email was a stark reminder to me of how oblivious I had been in my youth to what was happening around me.

These were her words (with minor edits) …

I miss them Jo, so can only imagine how it is for you. I always say this and you know it to be true…. they were like my parents too …. especially when mom left us behind when I was just going into grade 9. 

They always took such good care of us … extending favours and credit to my dad in the really bad years late 60s and early 70s, but after (mom) left, they certainly kept an eye out for (us). 

Grade 13 would not have gone so well for me had it not been for you and our fabulous study nights at your place … 

I had not known about the terrible car accident that left her father unable to work for months … and I had only a vague awareness of her mother having left them.

Froggie had always wrapped herself in laughter and good humour.  I had no idea of the underlying sadness and hardship.

… but my dad had known, and more importantly, did something about it.

I’ve said it before in earlier posts … we don’t always know what kind of ripples we leave behind us.  I am however getting a clear picture of the ripples my father made.  He was one of the good guys.

… and the photo Froggie shared?  It made me laugh out loud because it was Classic Dad … *fresh* from his garden!

Dad, Mom, and Ginette

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Family, Friends, Memories, Random Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to From Froggie, With Love

  1. reocochran says:

    This post made me really cry since my parents have many people like Froggie out there who I will imagine their thoughts about but may never know either. I lost my dad when he was only 69 in 2001. It still hurts my heart when I think of him and miss him. I wrote tributes to his raising himself up from poverty, etc. I like that a young girl found a second “family” at your parents house with them. How extra special ♡ that she let you know. Smiles and hugs, Robin

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      It is said that time heals all wounds, but that’s not been my experience. The hole that is left behind when a loved one is gone never completely heals. It is surprising how some days the loss is felt so acutely even though it was long ago.

      There are many kind and generous people in the world who are nothing short of heros in the hearts of those they touch.
      We are lucky to have known and loved one of these heros. I like to believe they have made us better people because of it ❤

      Like

  2. LB says:

    Joanne, I’m not sure what more I can say that you haven’t said or in the comments in response. Know that this post has touched me. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story

    Like

  3. Sheryl says:

    What a lovely tribute to your father.

    Like

  4. chattykerry says:

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad.

    Like

  5. Mrs. P says:

    It can be quite odd to view life from another’s perspective. I’m glad that you found out more about your dad and his influence on others. I love the picture of “gardening” dad, obviously doing something that he loved.

    Like

  6. A beautiful true story of kindness and love. I’m thinking you are a chip off the old block Jo x And just so lovely that Froggie would take the time to write and tell you her feelings about your beautiful parents x

    Like

  7. sandracharrondotcom says:

    This was beautiful. I stumbled upon your blog from Laura”s, and I adore the kind of introspection and story telling you so eloquently displayed. Your father sounds like he was an amazing man, and I’m so happy life throws these little ripples at us such as your Froggy. I’m hope that one day my ripples will be as appreciated and loved as clearly your dad’s are.

    Like

  8. Touching thoughtful meaningful post about life, about givers in life, and about love that withstands time and death. Your dad is still teaching lessons to all of us about how each little act of kindness resonates deep and full for a long long time. I also nodded my head thinking about how clueless I was as a teenager regarding friends’ and neighbors’ lives. We were too busy trying to learn how to live ourselves, so we missed the nuances of what others were going through. But we’re making up for it now – you certainly are.

    Like

  9. badfish says:

    Joanne, just a wonderful piece to read. Gave me chills! It proves there really are good guys in the world in the midst of all the rest of the stuff we see!! Very nicely written.

    Like

  10. treerabold says:

    A beautiful tribute to your dad. So nice of your friend to share her memories.
    I find myself wondering how I was so unaware of things as a child. I honestly don’t know if it is typical for children to be oblivious….or if I was especially blind to the needs of others.
    One thought….when we were kids, adults really didn’t share their “problems” with the kids….so maybe we just weren’t let in on the stuff happening around us??
    Thanks for telling us about your dad

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Tree for letting me off the hook as the only clueless one as a child.
      I think I’m a pretty empathetic person, but when I look back, I realize all the cues I totally misunderstood and others I blew out of proportion.
      I guess that’s just part of being human. Yup – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it 😉

      Like

  11. Anne Doherty says:

    Joanne, I stumbled across this through a post Ginette made on FB. I remember your Dad so well. I spent my summers with my aunt and uncle, Dolly & Art Amendola, and there were many trips to Sisco’s to pick up something for Auntie Dolly. Your Dad was such a nice man, even to a little girl who was a bit intimidated walking into that store all alone. A beautiful tribute to a very special man.

    Like

  12. Su Leslie says:

    Oh Joanne, I’m reading this with little tears forming. Your parents sound like wonderful people. Nancy is right, we do tend to view our families through a particular lens, and it is great to be given another view of them — as your friend has done.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you Su.
      My dad was a very modest, unassuming man with a small grocery store … not the type of person you would expect to leave a large footprint behind him.
      He turned out to be a quiet hero 🙂
      Yes – there is a danger in seeing people through only one lens.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lynn says:

    Oh Joanne, this post so touched my heart. How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful father, one who clearly was full of kindness & concern for others.

    I love your words, “we don’t always know what kind of ripples we leave behind us” This is a sign of a good life, a life who touches people, not only while they are here with us, but forever impacting us in how we live our own lives.

    Just beautiful!

    Like

  14. Sue Slaght says:

    Oh Joanne I have goosebumps head to toe and teary eyes. What a beautiful story and such a gift for your friend to share the photo.

    Like

  15. Sammy D. says:

    So very touching, Joanne. Thank you for this loving story. 💖

    Like

  16. Holly says:

    Wow, I am getting teary too. What a beautiful story and I am so glad you have the shared memories from friends to reinforce his love and impact on others ❤

    Like

  17. I could feel your emotions while reading. What a beautiful post and I bet it was hard to continue writing at times.

    Isn’t if fascinating what we learn about the people we love after they are gone?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I had wanted to write a post about my dad for some time but couldn’t find the story I wanted to tell.
      When Ginette’s email arrived, the words were suddenly there and just poured out. I was so thankful when she agreed to let me post her story.

      It seems my dad was full of surprises 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Joe says:

    What a wonderful heartwarming post Joanne 🙂

    Like

  19. hilarymb says:

    Hi Joanne – wonderful story .. and how lovely to have that email and especially the photo to bring your parents and Froggie back to life for that moment in time. I’m sure you’ll often have happy watery eyes as you think about this .. and know your Dad helped so much … and made Froggie have happy memories at that very difficult period in her life. Wonderful .. as Maggie says – so heartwarming … cheers Hilary

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you Hilary. I guess I was kind of clueless. I always thought Froggie liked my parents because they were so likeable. I had no idea that there was so much more deep down.
      … and this is a message I’ve heard a lot from many others.
      I wish there were more people like my dad in the world. It would be a better place.

      Like

  20. NancyTex says:

    How wonderful to get proof of the positive impact your dad had on others. I read this and it warmed my heart, and then also made me a bit sad. Sad because I’m sure my mom and dad have made these ripples far and wide, and I probably don’t know about the majority of them because I’ve been so independent for so long. I have a relationship with my parents, but it’s not as deep or connected as it should/could be. You’ve motivated me (once again) to correct this while I still have time. Thank you, Joanne.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That’s exactly it Nancy. We see our parents as our parents and most of us probably never seen another side. I believed my dad was a good man, but I had no clue how deep it went.

      Yes, embrace your parent’s stories while you can. You’ll be glad you did.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This is beautiful. How lucky you are to still be discovering these wonderful stories about your Dad. He sounds like a very special person.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Mara Eastern says:

    Lovely, even if bitter-sweet. But then the good memories remain.

    Like

  23. How lovely, Joanne. We don’t know how deeply the little things we do for others impacts them, but your father’s kindness and generosity of spirit is a perfect example. He sounds like a wonderful man. 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you Diana. He was a wonderful person and I’m being to appreciate even more how much he impacted on other’s lives … not just my own.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had a bit of the case of the “shoemaker’s child” myself, Joanne. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that most people do the best they can with the personal resources they have. It allows some fresh air into my perspective. I’m pretty sure you can relate. ❤

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I can relate. I didn’t realize until I had children of my own, how difficult being a parent really is. There is no owner’s manual for our children … in fact each one is different with different needs, different motivations. We all just do the best we can and hope it will be good enough.

          Liked by 1 person

  24. What a lovely, poignant story. Yes your Dad was one of the good ones – wish there were more like him. Thank you for sharing this special memory.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m sure there many very kind and generous people out there in the world making a difference in the lives they touch. They are quiet heros and the world is a better place because of them.
      I’m proud my dad was one of them 🙂

      Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Joanne and Ginette for sharing such a heart warming memory

    Like

  26. bikerchick57 says:

    Your dad was a wonderful human being, Joanne. I’m glad that you are hearing these stories of his caring and compassion.

    Like

  27. de Wets Wild says:

    What a lovely way to remember a true gentleman! Bless his soul!

    Like

  28. How beautiful. It’s interesting that you should post this today, as I have been fondly remembering my father, who passed away a year ago. I have been mulling over the role he had in helping many young people find their paths, in his life as a teacher. Our home was always full of his students. Whether it’s one or many, it’s so good to hear from people whose lives our departed parents have enriched….And even more delicious that you got this gift now, of knowing how important your dad was in your friend’s life, all these years later.

    Be well and take care…And thanks for sharing this treasure with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh Laura – I can imagine that as a teacher, your father has touched many lives and influenced the path of many of those. I’m sure you’ve heard many of those stories.

      After all these years, I still miss him. I suppose that will never go away. Thankfully the memories are warm 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, my dad was one of those intensely real, no BS people who everyone knew would give them the unvarnished truth. So I grew up being Norm Schulman’s Daughter, which I felt and still feel was an honor and a privilege. At his memorial I was the MC, and introduced myself that way…got a big laugh! I’m happy that the memories are good. It’s a blessing to miss our loved ones. Keeps them close, I think. I’ve made honoring the memory of my dad part of my rather sparse spiritual practice. He would not approve, but as I remind his spirit, I’m here and you’re not, so I get to call the shots, while I’m still stuck here. You can bawl me out later, with pleasure 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  29. mickscogs says:

    Every Friday afternoon at 5:10, our local ABC radio station presents a “changing tracks” segment. I even got one posted. These stories often threaten tears. Some are sad, some are fun like mine, and some are heartwarming like your story above Joanne. Thank you so much, lovely story and well written (of course)

    Like

  30. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful story. We always see our parents as “parents”. It’s surprising when others see them as people with many different sides we never see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      … and that’s exactly the side I have been discovering. It’s been interesting, heartwarming, sad, humbling, and many other emotions all wrapped together.

      I can’t help but think he would probably be embarrassed and dismissive of the sentiment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Ginette Blais says:

    It’s a good thing that Mr. Costaniuk (sp?) did such a good job teaching me how to type in high school because I can’t see the letters on the keyboard or the screen for that matter from the tears in my eyes. You captured how special your dad was to our family Joanne, and your mom too! They looked out for their neighbours. They looked out for the friends of their children. It warms my heart to see my memories of your dad written in your blog. I’m not at all surprised you are the person you are today…. good dutch italian canadian stock!! Remember how he’d always sending me home by 11 pm on those grade 13 study nights for Double English and History? Your mom would make him a snack and that was my cue to walk home, one block down on 13th.
    Dio benedica Frank Sisco!

    Like

  32. You were very lucky to have such a great guy for a father. Nice that his memory lives on in such a wonderful way.

    Like

  33. Glazed says:

    Any parent who made that much of an impression on a childhood friend must have been a great parent. He looks to me like a kind man.

    Like

  34. This brings tears to my eyes. What a heartwarming story.

    Like

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