A Soaring Memorial
Pop Pop was a sweet man with a notorious sweet tooth. In Jewish tradition, loved ones each shovel dirt onto the grave of the deceased, but Sammy wanted to make his grandfather smile. He instead filled his shovel with Reeses to send his grandfather on his way.
Pop Pop was from the Bronx. His own father passed away when he was 6 or 7-years-old, right before the Great Depression struck. He grew up poor and eventually relocated to Philadelphia with his mother before serving in WW2 in the US Army Special Services. He was a charmer and found himself serving as an entertainer in the Philippines. With his extraordinary memory and fantastic sense of humor, he became a hypnotist in the army, keeping the spirits of the troops high.
After returning to the US, Pop Pop continued his career as a hypnotist, landing roles in New York and even using his talents to cure Milton Berle's mother of migraines! He eventually desired a more stable path and leveraged his powers to be a successful Life Insurance salesman; however his best role came years later when he was promoted to Grandfather of Sammy.
Pop Pop went to Sammy's home everyday to read to him. At one point, Pop Pop lived with Sammy and his family. Sammy recalls his grandfather's incredible sense of humor. He stole his brother's toys and left ransom notes.
He recorded Sammy's thoughts on the world from a young age, sharing his pride in his grandson with his friends with bright enthusiasm. He taught Sammy how to shake hands like an adult and knew every detail of Sammy's life, from childhood through adulthood. They spoke on the phone everyday and saw each other at least once a month, no matter where their journeys took them. He was filled with energy until the end. Sammy recalls an evening in November when his Grandfather stayed out well past the time Sammy went to bed. He was always the life of the party and admired by everyone who knew him.
Pop Pop lived to be 97 years old and passed away in December, leaving a big hole in Sammy's life. For his birthday this May, Sammy commissioned the creation of this memorial pendant so he is able to wear a token of his grandparents with him wherever he goes.
We created a single angel wing in 18k yellow gold as the memorial piece for Pop Pop. The wing has a soothing texture that flows along the surface, an abstraction of the ridges found on the edge of a Reese's cup. This texture is also designed for touch so Sammy can hold the pendant and find comfort in the textured form. The pendant spins on its bail, allowing for greater movement and the interaction Sammy craves with Pop Pop.
We added additional sweetness reminiscent of Pop Pop's playful personality and sweet tooth--Along the outer edge of the piece, the wing has the ridges of a Reese's Cup. This detail is here to remind Sammy of his grandfather's sweet tooth and the sweetness of keeping his memory alive.
Though Sammy's grandmother passed away when he was 10-years-old, it was important that his grandmother also have a presence in this piece, as her influence on their lives never ceased. She loved to show Sammy off to her friends. She was known as a tough lady--having gone to Penn before women went to college, her smarts were apparent. However, she was always sweet with Sammy, her first grandchild. He remembers sitting with her at the beach, eating grapes and cookies. His grandmother is present in the river of diamonds that graduates in size along the side. After receiving the pendant, Sammy commented that the way light flows across the textured surface reminds him of water, particularly fitting since his strongest memories with his grandmother took place by the shore.
When she passed away, Sammy was too distraught to attend her funeral, but his mother brought home a rose from the service that Sammy kept.
Both Grandparent's initials are hand engraved on the top edge of the pendant, separated by a single rose bud.
Happy Birthday, Sammy. I hope this pendant gives you an opportunity to speak with people about your grandparents, their lives, and the incredible relationship you shared.
You told me that they don't make men like Pop Pop anymore. I have a feeling he would disagree with you on that one. You're a sweet, strong, good man too. I am positive your grandparents are watching with pride as you continue on your journey. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity create this meaningful memorial. XOXO