While in New York waiting to board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 to sail for Southampton, England, I decided to check out the Bay Ridge address near the Verrazano Bridge where my father grew up. I took a limo over to Brooklyn and knocked on the front door.
I told the owner about my family history with the property, but I could see from the expression on his face that he didn’t believe a single word. Then I told him about the relatives moving into the basement during the Great Depression.
He immediately let me in and gave me a tour of the house. He told me that he had just purchased the home and had extensively refurbished it. When they tore out the walls in the basement he discovered that the insulation was composed of crumpled up newspapers from the 1930’s, so he knew I was telling the truth.
I told him that grandpa would be glad that the house was still in Italian hands. Could I enquire what he had paid for the house that sold in 1923 for $3,000? He said he bought it as a broken down fixer upper for a mere $775,000.
As I passed under the Verrazano Bridge on the Queen Mary II later that day, I contemplated how much smarter grandpa became the older I got. I hope the same is true with my kids.