Well Hello Rodney!

“Well Hello Rodney!”, was my nana’s favorite greeting. Every time I called or visited; I was greeted with the familiar “Well Hello Rodney!”. I am sitting here reflecting on these words and feeling a bit glum as I will never hear these words again. Thursday night I received word that my nana had passed from a brief but significant illness. Over the last few days many different feelings of sadness overcame me, and many tears were shed. But after the tears abated, my thoughts turned to the happiness and joy my nana brought me and my family.

A lot of who I am today comes from hanging around my maternal grandparents Joyce and Ray.  When I was growing up, I spent many weekends at the grandparents house in Sylmar, CA. It was during these visits that many of my nerd like hobbies and proclivities formed.  One of my favorite memories was sitting in the living room with my grandma as she drank Tab and taught me the how to play blackjack. I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I do believe my degenerate gambling hobby came as result of this particular visit. LOL. I find memories amazing as I can recall this moment with complete clarity. I also believe a lot of my artistic ability comes from my nana’s love of art. Nana was one heck of a painter and many of her works adorn the homes of my mom, aunts, and uncles. She was a damn good painter. While I am not a painter, I do believe that my creativity comes from being around her while she worked. The smell of oil paint brings back memories of her,

While thinking about nana my mind also wanders to my grandfather Ray who also had a huge influence on me. The funny part of this is that I had no real idea of his influence on me until his passing some 20 years ago.

When we were talking about his life, we talked about what he did on Christmas morning before the gathering of our large and expanding family. What he did that morning was to get in his car to spend time driving around Hollywood. You see the lack of traffic on Christmas morning makes it a good time to drive around to just check stuff out.  This story might seem insignificant but in this boy’s life this was an AMAZING revelation. As many of my friends have witnessed first-hand, one of my all-time favorite things to do, is to drive around Hollywood checking stuff out. Every trip to LA is yet another opportunity to check out new and old places behind the wheel of a car. My best friend calls this “Rod’s Reality Tour”. From Vasquez Rocks to The Pink Motel, I love showing my friends the around the LA area. I NEVER get bored doing this. I’m in my 50s now and still love exploring. LA is a huge place and there are always new sites to find.  

Another thing that came from my grandparents was my absolute love of movies.  I do believe that this love of movies was not unique to me but to all of their children. I can remember in high detail watching movies whenever I visited my family’s homes.  I remember watching the Late Great Planet earth at the Winnetka drive in with my aunt Nancy or seeing a double feature of Jaws 2 and Grey Lady Down at yet another drive in (we saw lot so movies at the drive in) with my aunt Lisa. I also remember watching the dawn of MTV at my aunt Carries house and checking out movies on the Z channel that my grandfather had installed in his home instantly. Movies are in my family’s DNA.  The beauty of this is the love of movies has transcended multiple generations of my family. We still go to the movies on a regular basis.

There are many, many more stories just like these. If you ask my cousins, I bet they can share many similar stories. I’m also pretty sure that “Well Hello Rodney” was not a greeting solely for me. I bet that it was also use for my cousins too. It was also “Well Hello… Sara or Rebecka or Kelsey or Brandon or Bridget or Aaron” You get the gist. I am betting we all got the same greeting as our nana loved us all and was always happy to hear or be around us.

Now there is only one greeting left for her and it reads like this: “Well Hello Ray!”