John Denver said it best - Almost Heaven
Disclaimer: This is Zad's story dictated to Mandy. His words. Her typing.
Zad was born in Los Angeles, CA and moved to West Virginia as a young child. A few years later, because of finding a more stable, safe job than his dad working in a glass factory, his family moved to PA. West Virginia brought him close to his grandparents, and it's a place that still holds a dear spot in his heart. Pennsylvania was new territory for the
whole family, as his mom was from Oregon, and his dad grew up in WV.
Most holidays, at least two weeks in the summer and hunting season were spent with Nannie and Poppie.
Nannie was kind of a joker. He fondly remembers slipper fights with Micah and Nannie. The Nannie Special - Shredded Wheat with fruit in the middle, cottage cheese, cinnamon sugar and milk was always a hit. The Poppie Special - cream chipped beef from scratch on biscuits was another fave. Poppie's grass was like no other grass. He kept his yard perfectly manicured - shrubs and all.
He remembers the scent of the shed smelling like fresh cut grass, the stone bed between the house and the yard, the back patio had the artificial grass carpet and the bank came right to the deck. There were big rocks painted with chrome colored paint.
All the memories of time spent at their house always make Zad nostalgic for days' past. Zad loved fishing with Poppie, hunting with his Dad and staying at Nannie and Poppie's house, visiting Poppie at the bank, feeding the coin separator at the bank and going on adventures to local landmarks.
Around age 11, Zad remembers Nannie's health declining. Things went really south, and the kids were able to see her in the hospital in WV. They brought her salad from her favorite WV Italian restaurant, and she gifted the kids a Super Nintendo, which at the time, 1995, was a hot item.
Sadly, Nannie died a short time later. Everyone, as they do after funerals, went their own separate ways. Poppie stayed in WV, and Zad's family went back to Lancaster, PA.
Zad and his siblings still saw Poppie often, and Poppie remarried in Dec 1998. While the new wife wasn't Nannie and didn't replace her, if Poppie was happy, Zad was happy for him.
The following April brought turmoil beyond imagination. Zad lost his brother and Dad in a blink, and his life would forever be changed.