Podcast Episodes

EP – 41 The Grand Project

My conversation with Kitty Janvirn

Kitty Janvirn is a young woman who took a school assignment, had a passion for history, and created a podcast to capture the story of her grandparents and other grandparents. In our conversation, we learn about her mother’s father, Paul Own who to Kitty, her brothers, and her cousins is simply known as Doc. We learn that Doc was the town Pharmacist and also enjoyed getting down on his hands and knees when the grandkids were over to play ‘Monster’ and chase them all about the house. (No doubt to grandma and mom’s chagrin when they were trying to get the kids to go to bed.)

Kitty also shares tender stories about her father’s dad, Bob Janvirn. Bob is known to his grandchildren as Grandpa. We discuss how Kitty is being intentional with connecting and communicating with her Grandpa. We learn that Grandpa and that relationship has been very consistent over the years and how he enjoys working on technical and mechanical projects.

We get into the background of how and why Kitty started her project, The Grand Project. What is great about Kitty’s project is that she is not just collecting her family’s history but reaching out to other older people to gather their fascinating stories including the story of the first woman to play Little League Baseball.

Be sure to check out the links to Kitty’s projects below. Reach to her and let her know how much you enjoyed this conversation.

If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, please subscribe and then share it with a friend.

Links

The Grand Project – Kitty’s website

The Grand Project – Kitty’s Instagram site

grandprojectpod@gmail.com – Kitty’s email. Reach out and say hello.

EP – 40 Good Grandpa

My conversation with Ted Page

Ted Page was tired of the negative messaging about grandpas in popular media when he learned that he was going to become a grandpa. Instead of just complaining about that negative messaging, Ted decided to launch a blog about the positive aspects of being a grandpa and so, Good Grandpa was born.

We sit down for a unique show where Ted and I interview each other about how our lives changed when we found out we were going to become grandfathers. We both have similar journeys with different methods of delivering our messages of the positive impact that grandfathers have in the lives of grandchildren and their families. Ted, writes about his experiences and his views about being a grandfather and I use a podcast platform to create audio content about the value of grandfathers.

During our discussion, Ted shares many impactful and entertaining insights into his role and experience with being a grandfather. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the conversation we had about raising grandchildren to have the courage and strength to express that they respectfully disagree with someone else’s position or opinion. We use the fun example of how great it is when Red Sox and Yankee fans can sit down and have a respectful conversation about baseball and their teams even though you would be hard-pressed to find two groups that “hate” each other. (Although the Dodgers are really the best team) While we use sports as our example, it is important to teach our grandchildren and our families how to get along even when we disagree with one another.

Once you listen to this conversation, come back and leave me a comment or shoot me an email at greg@cool-grandpa.com and let me know what your big takeaway was from this episode.

Links

Click HERE for the Good Grandpa Blog

Click HERE for Ted’s LinkedIn profile

Click HERE for Good Grandpa Blog on Instagram

EP – 39 A Lieutenant General Becomes a Kid Again with His Grandchildren

My Conversation with Lieutenant General (Retired) Ralph Jodice

Welcome back! In this episode of The Cool Grandpa Podcast, we are privileged to have Retired Lieutenant General Ralph J. Jodice II join us and talk about his experience with being a grandfather. Ralph is the father of one of our past guests, Brian Jodice (A link to Brian’s conversation is down below). As you will learn, Ralph is a heck of a guy and another good example of someone who is “doing it right.”

If you thought that Generals could not get down and play with children and become children again through their interactions with their grandchildren, you would be mistaken. As you will find out in this engaging conversation, nothing makes Ralph happier than sitting down and having high tea with one of his granddaughters or playing Legos with one of his grandsons.

As you will learn, Ralph comes from a very close family that he has intentionally passed on to his children and grandchildren. Although Ralph and his wife (affectionately known as Nonna by the grandchildren) may not live close to their children and grandchildren when needed, they deploy to wherever they are needed. Grandpa takes on logistics and supply duties while Nonna takes command of the kitchen. By being intentional with the time they spend, the grandparents and grandchildren build lasting relationships that are part of a long Jodice tradition.

Ralph also shares with us the story of how while serving his country and NATO in Izmir, Turkey, he was able to balance out the news and excitement of his first granddaughter being born. We learn from Ralph that the priorities of Faith, Family, Service can sometimes become out of wack during deployments and the call of duty but that it is important to restore that balance as soon as possible.

There are heartwarming stories and lessons shared in this conversation with Ralph that we can all learn from. My biggest takeaway is the importance of the dining room table. As Ralph talks about, that is where the family laughs, loves, cry, and learns. After you listen to this conversation, be sure to leave your big takeaway in the comments below.

Links:

Lieutenant General Ralph J. Jodice II biography

Brian’s conversation about his grandfathers

EP 38 – A grandson’s passion for capturing a unique story

My Conversation with filmmaker Tyler Gildin

Capturing unique stories is what filmmakers do. Understanding and recognizing that your family has unique and impactful stories is an awesome insight and realization. Award-winning filmmaker Tyler Gildin sits down with us to discuss his grandparents and how lucky he has been to have known and experienced both grandfathers and grandmothers for most of his life.

At the start of the conversation, we talk about Tyler’s grandfather Kenny, a dentist and very active in his community. Tyler shares a great story that is an example of how his Grandpa Kenny showed up for Tyler’s birthday party hurt and with a neck brace. Even though it would have been easier to drop by and visit with Tyler on another day, Grandpa Kenny showed up and “played hurt,” which Tyler still remembers to this day.

Tyler and I continue the conversation by talking about his fantastic documentary, The Starfish. Tyler talks about how his grandfather Herb was a little embarrassed and unsure that his story would be something that people would want to hear about. The fact is, this is a fascinating story that sounds like it was right out of Hollywood based on the close calls, the toughness of young children and teenagers, and the kindness of strangers.

At a high level, Herb and his older sisters left Nazi Germany just before the outbreak of WW II after Kristallnacht. At first, Herb (10 years old) and his sisters (aged 12 and 14) left their mother and father behind and made it to Sweden with the help of HIAS. After a period of time, Herb and his sisters were transported across Russia and then Japan. Herb then made it on the last boat to reach San Fransico from Japan before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Tyler talks about how through these experiences, that his grandfather didn’t talk about his early childhood experiences often because he felt that Grandpa Herb didn’t want to be defined by his immigrant past. Herb wanted to be known for how he had worked hard to build several businesses in New York and raised a close family.

It is amazing that through the documentary, you get the sense that Herb would have rather spent an hour talking about YOU and what is going on in your life. It was just the way he was and what made Herb special.

In this feel-good story about surviving the holocausts, we have a very personal experience to prove that the kindness and generosity of strangers to individuals really make a difference. The poem The Starfish calls out the experience that Herb and his sisters experienced by strangers who took in the kids in Sweden and those that helped the family make the long journey to the United States. By strangers helping out Herb, it allowed him to later in his life to help out and mentor his employees, customers, and community in times of their need.

We wrap up our conversation by discussing how children and grandchildren can capture the stories of their grandparents to consume now or years down the road.

Click on The Starfish Documentary link below and be sure to watch this intriguing documentary. You will be inspired, and your faith in the goodness of strangers will be restored.

Links

The Starfish Documentary

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

Tyler’s About Page

EP – 37 Talking Legacy with a World-Traveling Grandpa

My conversation with Scott Paton

Scott Paton is a world-traveling grandpa who, like other new(ish) grandfathers, thinks about the legacy that they will be leaving their grandchildren. Scott and I sit down and discuss his reaction to finding out that he became a step-grandpa and grandpa. Scott, like my dad, became a grandfather through marriage first, then through birth.

I was introduced to Scott by former guest of the podcast, Marc Mawhinney. (Click Here to listen to Marc’s conversation) We go through and talk about how grandfather has the opportunity to be additional sources of support and love to children entering a blended family situation. Through simple acts such as going for walks or going to the park, engaging in conversations about what the new grandchildren are interested in builds a foundation of love and security between the step-grandchildren and step-grandfathers.

Scott has the unique perspective of traveling the world and having a location-independent career. As a result of his efforts to build his online businesses, Scott spends about 9 months of the year traveling the globe. Through his travels, Scott envelopes himself in the culture of the area that he is visiting. Scott searches out the little hole-in-the-wall eateries where only the locals know where to get that one-of-a-kind flavor and experience. He also has a knack for finding those out-of-the-way waterfalls and hiking trails that you can only find when staying in one place for months at a time. All of these travels have allowed Scott to build up a “must show” list of places and peoples that one day he hopes to introduce to his grandchildren.

Through all of our discussions, we touch on the idea of legacy and what we want to leave and do for our grandchildren. Like many of us, the idea of legacy was very abstract and not something that he or I thought about much until grandchildren entered our lives. Since we have received the gift of grandchildren, we are both now thinking in terms of the legacy of travel, experiences, and how we expose our grandchildren to a larger and more interesting world through our travels and experiences.

What idea or topic struck you in our conversation? What type(s) of legacy are you wanting to leave for your grandchildren or children?

Let me know by clicking on the comments button below or by sending me an email at greg@cool-grandpa.com

Links to connect with Scott:

Scott’s Facebook Profile

Scott’s Twitter Account

Scott’s YouTube Channel

EP – 36 A Victorian Grandfather Teaches His Granddaughter the Love of Story Telling

My Conversation with Jeanne Willis

Children’s Author Jeanne Willis sits down with us for a fun conversation about her wonderful grandfather, Fredrick Willis. Fredrick was born in 1895 and was a Victorian who served in the Army in Africa as a Sapper (Army Engineer) during WWI. Jeanne talks about how her grandfather used to joke about losing his helmet while riding in a jeep in Africa. The result, according to Fedrick, was his head becoming burned and his hair falling out. Jeanne, always trying to help and show affection to her grandfather, created many homemade potions to try and restore her grandfather’s hair.

We talk about Jeanne’s early relationship years with her grandfather. Jeanne talks about walking about on stilts and signing Army songs that her grandfather taught her. Fredrick also used to walk to Jeanne’s school with a pocket of sweets to pick up Jeanne and her sister from school. Jeanne shares a wonderful story about capturing caterpillars with her grandfather and credits this experience as the basis of her love of metamorphosis. We also talk about how her grandfather and grandmother would encourage her early storytelling ventures at an early age, including Jeanne using an old typewriter and Jeanne’s sister doing the illustrations.

Jeanne and I talk about how her relationship evolved, including how she thinks that her grandfather missed the granddaughters being little girls. We talk about how we can internally break our grandparent’s hearts as our focus starts to turn from them to our friends and outside interests. Jeanne even went so far as to write her grandfather a heartfelt letter apologizing for growing up and not having the same relationship as when she was younger. We both talk about how children today can be more focused on the screens versus relationships with grandparents.

I ask Jeanne about writing children’s books and how she often has a grandfather character appear in the story without her planning on involving him. In particular, we discuss the fascinating book Stardust. In Stardust, the book is a bit more biographical in nature, where Jeanne’s sister at times received more of the attention, and Jeanne sometimes felt left out. However, in the book, as in life, granddad shares with the little girl about how we are all made of stardust, and we all shine in different ways.

As we wrap up our conversation, Jeanne talks about how her grandfather was her soulmate, mentor, and she wouldn’t have become a writer without him. Jeanne talks about how he is still with her and often bursts right into her writing.

Links:

Jeanne’s Website

Stardust – I highly recommend this book if you have little granddaughters.

EP – 35 A Case of Blue and the impact of a grandfather on a filmmaker

My conversation with Dana Glazer

This is a fun conversation with filmmaker Dana Glazer. We start our conversation by discussing how his grandfather would work with Dana over multiple summer visits to create homemade claymation stop-action movies. We explore how his grandfather nurtured Dana’s creativity and gift for filmmaking. The lessons learned about just diving in and making a project and learning along the way is something Dana has passed on to his children. Dana and I talk about his children’s projects, Blackhole Producers and No Pizza! No Cake! as well as how to encourage children’s creativity.

As Dana grew older, and created his production company called Dane-Gramp productions. This childhood creation with his grandfather manifested itself to become where his films are created, produced, and promoted. We dive into the history of how Dana’s movie A Case of Blue was developed. Dana also walks us through the relatively quick schedule to move from the story to casting, shooting, and then promotion.

Dana and I carefully talk about A Case of Blue because there is so much going on with this movie. We try very hard to give you an understanding of the movie while at the same time leaving a lot of the treasures of this movie to yet be discovered. We also talk about the lead actor, Stephen Schnetzer, and what a great job he does as a new retiree, Richard, who is faced with life-altering decisions and circumstances as well as a crisis.

We take a movement to have an enjoyable conversation about acting, actors, storytelling, and filmmaking. As part of that discussion, Dana talks about how good actors, like Stephen and Dustin Hoffman, in the film The Graduate, go into themselves to bring out the character and make the character external for the film or performance.

Dana and I wrap up our conversation with a heartwarming and funny story that Dana shared at his grandfather’s funeral. This is a fantastic conversation about grandfathers, becoming a storyteller and a filmmaker in part because of those early home movies made with his grandfather.

Links:

Blackhole Producers – Dana’s youngest son’s YouTube channel

No Pizza! No Cake – Georgia Glazer’s children’s book

A Case of Blue – Dana’s fantastic movie

Dane-Gramp Productions – Dana’s production company

Stephen Schnetzer – Stephen’s IMDB page

EP – 34 Live Right, Lead Right, Leave Right. A legacy from two service-oriented grandfathers

My conversation with Brian Jodice

In this exciting conversation with Brian Jodice, we talk about his grandfathers and the lessons he learned from them. Brain shares with us stories about Pop (Jim Lepis) and Granddad (Pat Jodice). Both of these outstanding individuals were former servicemen in WWII and continued to serve their communities throughout their lives. Both grandfathers were from New Jersey (we didn’t get into what exit…New Jersey joke there).

Brian’s Pop was an aircraft mechanic in WWII and retired to the shore in Lavallette, NJ, after working in civilian life. Brian recalls family trips up to New Jersey full of cousins, noise, and, most importantly, family.

Granddad was a sonar man in the Navy during WWII and was able to see the Marines post the US Flag on top of Mt. Suribachi. Granddad also served in the Korean war. After serving his country, Granddad became a police officer in New Milford, New Jersey, where he eventually retired as the Chief of Police. Granddad retired and built a home in North Eastern North Carolina. Ganddad’s was very different in that Granddad’s house was not as crazy with just Brian’s brothers and one other cousin.

Brian clearly remembers how no matter what was going on or what grandfather’s home he was visiting, both Grandfathers were intentional about spending time with the grandchildren. We talk about how different but similar the time was at each house. You are going to love hearing the stories about Pop and Granddad, and there will be no doubt how much they loved their grandchildren.

From this conversation, you will see how Pop and Granddad loved and led their families and grandchildren. The legacy of being an intentional grandfather is evident with Brain and his brothers. Those lessons of being intentional came in many forms, from discussions around the kitchen table to working in Pop’s woodshop or just cruising around the neighborhood.

Links:

Pickup the Six website

My interview on the Pickup the Six Podcast

Pickup the Six Facebook page

Pickup the Six Instagram page

Pickup the Six Twitter page

Brian’s personal Facebook page

F3 Nation – Brian mentions F3 as a fitness group focused on Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith.

Links to the interviews I had about Maj. General Rupertus: Part 1 and Part 2

EP – 33 Life is short, don’t waste the moment

My conversation with Marc Mawhinney

Marc Mawhinney sits down and has a fun discussion about his grandfather, George Mawhinney, and growing up in Atlantic Canada. Marc’s grandfather was a fisherman and hardworking guy that taught Marc and Matt (Marc’s twin) how to work hard and love baseball.

Marc shares great stories about the connection that baseball has between family members and communities of fans. Through all the up-and-down years that George experienced with the Toronto Blue Jays, we learn that he could live to see the Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series. In this episode, you get to hear a couple of guys talk about the connection that sports have and how the last year of sports with Covid disrupted those connections.

We hear how George named his fishing boat, Mathew and Marc, after his first two grandchildren and how that made Marc feel honored in that way. Marc also talks about how he pulled a ball in his family’s field and busted a window at his grandfather’s house. True to his nature, Grandfather didn’t scold the boys but just chalked it up to boys playing ball. Marc also discusses how his grandfather would take them snowmobiling, and he tells us of a certain race that he, his father, grandfather, and brother took part in. (Don’t inform Marc’s insurance agent about Marc’s street racing past.)

Marc shares with us the story of Marc’s mother prompting Matt and Marc to go over to their grandfather’s garage to say and see what he was doing. Marc talks about how after going over to see his grandfather, his grandfather George was in the hospital the next day and passed away just a few days later. Marc’s grandfather’s passing hit him and his family hard. Years later, Marc used the anniversary of his grandfather’s passing to push himself to launch his daily podcast, Natural Born Coaches, on November 17, 2014.

You will enjoy the interesting and loving stories that Marc has of his grandfather and the impact of his grandfather on his life.

To learn more about Marc and his work with helping people become profitable coaching businesses, check out the below links. You might also want to follow Marc on Facebook to enjoy his “dad jokes” and puns.

Links:

Natural Born Coaches – website

The Coaching Jungle – Facebook Group

Marc Mawhinney – Marc’s Facebook Page

EP – 32 Returning Time

My conversation with Lauren Huff

Lauren Huff is returning time with her grandparents by showing curiosity and interest in their varied and exceptional lives. Lauren is a writer and businesswoman from the California Central Valley. She was fortunate that her grandparents, for the most part, lived close by, which resulted in a close and meaningful relationship. Lauren and I met in Dan Miller’s 48days Eagles community (see link below).

We get into the podcast by finding out about Lauren’s Papa, whose family immigrated from Sicily. We dive into Papa’s interest in history and how his family immigrated from Sicily into New Orleans and migrated to California. His family’s experience is similar to our past guest, Vinnie Tortorich’s family (Click HERE to be taken to Vinnie’s conversation). Lauren talks about how Papa’s stories would not change, but he adjusted the details based on her age and level of understanding.

Lauren also talks about her Grandpa Jerry and his woodworking shop, his love for ‘dad jokes,’ and how she spent a lot of time with him and her grandma, especially around the holidays while Lauren’s parents worked and she was out of school. We hear a funny story about how Lauren acted up as a young girl and then didn’t know how to react when her Grandpa was gently trying to discipline her.

Through all the time and effort that Lauren’s grandparents have poured into her, Lauren has developed the podcast, and blog centered on capturing her grandparent’s experiences. Lauren’s project is titled Returning Time. (See the link below) As I mentioned, the purpose behind Returning Time is to develop a family history that can be shared with other people regardless if they are grandparents or granddaughters, or grandsons. These stories are powerful and interesting conversations that bridge the gaps between generational experiences.

Links:

https://www.returningtime.com/

48 Days – Dan Miller

General Rupertus Part 1

General Rupertus Part 2

Vinnie’s conversation