20 years ago today, Grandpa Gene passed away. I was at work in Wilsonville for my MECOP internship at Mentor Graphics when I found out from Kevin. I left work immediately to go to Po Po’s house.
My mom cried a little when I first arrived, but then put on her strong face to take care of all the arrangements. His body had been already been taken from the house. Most of the rest of the day was a blur. I do remember that there wasn’t much for me to do, so I went out dancing at the Viscount that evening. It felt weird to be out dancing. He was my first time someone close in our family passed away.
Grandpa Gene taught me multiplication early in my childhood, which gave me confidence in math to be ahead of most of my peers.
He took Jack, Kevin, and I on trips to OMSI by bus because he didn’t drive, but we would spend the whole day at OMSI (back when it was next to the Oregon Zoo). I frequent OMSI with my kids today.
He taught Kevin, Jack, and I how to play bridge. We played that for hours with him. It’s an amazing card game mixing strategy, luck, and teamwork. He mainly taught us so that he could keep us from doing stupid stuff around his house like blowing up dog crap with fireworks we got from our dentist visits.
He loved parks. I remember going to parks often for family outings playing frisbee or badminton. He loved tennis but I never got a chance to play it with him. Though I wonder if it’s the reason I enjoy ping pong.
He was the one with a flash and a SLR camera taking family photos, back in the days with film and prints. Now, we all have cameras on our phones to capture our family adventures and share them on social media or text messages.
Thanks Gong Gong for the gifts from your life. They are still blessing me 20 years after.
Originally posted on our “Cousins from one Gene” Facebook group in 2019 and edited for new time reference. I wanted a permanent place for this memory on our blog.