Goodbye To Family & Hello To a Legacy

Andrea | A Glimpse of Good
6 min readJun 14, 2022
The House Grandpa Built with Buttice Construction sign at home

Loved ones will leave your life…and after that, “I would never’s change to “I think I wanna…”s. This is what happened to me. A dream sparked from saying goodbye to two very special people in my life for nearly 50 years.

Just. Like. That. My grandparents have made their exit. And that’s where this story begins. I’m blessed that my grandparents lived well into their 90’s, but with all those decades of memories, it made it even harder to say goodbye.

Where do you start a story as long as this one?

Do I start when Grandpa came to America? Do I start after my grandparents were married, or when I came into the story?

A Brief “Where It All Started” BackSTORY

Seven children, a little island, and a bold sail across that wavy big pond. Palermo, Italy {the capital of the island of Sicily} was the starting place…but Walla Walla, Washington was the settling place.

Now here’s the story, as I heard it:: They landed in Philadelphia the first time around. And later, as if traveling the big bumpy ocean wasn’t enough, they trekked to the opposite coast, to settle in Washington state, in the small town of Walla Walla. Small town to small town, only with a new language and new way of life.

Being that this is a blog post and not a novel, I’ll skip ahead to my grandparents having eight children of their own and starting a construction business. I’m not sure how Grandpa decided to start his construction business in Walla Walla, but that’s what he did. He built onto the house I, countless other grandchildren, and great-grandchildren ran wild around.

Now if you know a few things about Italians, family and food go together like spaghetti and meatballs, gelato and your tongue, garlic and…anything. Our family was together a lot at my grandparents’ house; family reunions, boating on the river…family was everything!

He Was a Magnet

Grandpa was the feisty spark that you could never pin down, or keep home. If someone was going somewhere, he was waiting in the car, or had his bag packed for the plane before dawn. He magnetized people together.

No doubt, this was why his business was so successful, along with quality and built-to-last construction. You would tire of the style before anything he built crumbled. I’m typing this blog on the desk he built for me in my first college apartment 29 years ago.

Grandpa Is Gone, But Our Matriarch Lives On

Grandpa left us about six years ago, but Grandma stayed in the house that grandpa built. She was a firecracker of a woman! I always described her as the Miss Ellie of the house {anyone remember the show Dallas?}. She preferred staying in to going out, but I saw her as the navigator of the family ship. Also the one who would tell you how she saw it, flat out, no holding back. She loved her sugar, but there was no sugar-coating her words.

Italian Family Business

Grandma ran the books for the business. We keep things in the family. Also a running joke…the Italian family business. But sometimes I think my hubby wonders if it’s really a joke😉 Keeps him in line though, so I’ll play along.

Grandma met up with Grandpa last August.

And that’s when I had a big-girl life moment.

She was the matriarch and the last of the family glue, so to speak. Up until 2020, we would all meet back up at the house for Christmas Eve or summer visits home. Relatives I hadn’t seen in the last year usually had a reason to walk in the door at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I saw all the familiar faces and caught up on everyone’s new adventures, playing with all the new Littles born that year, and relaxed being home again.

The Dream Sparked After Saying Goodbye

Houses can’t sit empty forever…so Grandma’s and Grandpa’s needs to be sold. No more Christmas Eve in their living room, no more picking from the draping apricot tree or raspberry bushes, or going upstairs to the 50’s-wallpaper TV room, or all the other memorable pieces of their property that I grew up on. They and the house I sort-of grew up in were a part of my life for 50 years.

One House Grandpa Built Turns Vacation Rental

Remember in the beginning of this piece when I said Grandpa built a construction business?

One of the homes he built was a duplex just up the drive from my parents’ house. And now, NOOOOW I own a piece of their legacy.

I couldn’t buy their home, but I could keep this piece of their legacy! I’ll be getting my hands dirty renovating #TheHouseGrandpaBuilt! And soon, we’ll be opening up our family home to share with you as a vacation rental.

As we renovate, we’ll be adding in the pieces that Walla Walla + my Italian family treasure.

A Vacation Rental With Panache

Yes, when you travel, you can lay your head anywhere in town. But when you come to this little corner of southeastern Washington, you’ll want to stay here when you come to Walla Walla::

  • A place built with family at the center
  • A coffee bar for us lovers of coffee
  • Wine fridge to chill all those bottles from your tour day
  • An upstairs deck out-looking the beautiful Blue Mountains
  • Downstairs patio for sunset relaxing and wine by the fire
  • A few more surprises to share when it opens

We’re family here. We want to decorate the house that Grandpa built into the home he would love; a place for you to meet up and share moments and add another memorable story to your travels.

This is going to be my shared space, of shared favorites, and shared memories, by people from all over. When we share your family and friends through photos {a Polaroid map will hang on a wall to add your own} we see different ways of life, where people travel from, what their story is, how we might be similar {instead of different}.

Maybe even someday we’ll get other Italian relatives to travel from Sicily for a visit to Walla Walla, just like my great-grandparents {only they made it a permanent stay, which works too}.

  • You can share your favorite bottle of wine on the wine list above the bar for the next guest {Amavi or L’Ecole 41 cabernet}
  • Share the best restaurant in town {Graze is a must-stop when I’m home}
  • Give us your favorite event of the week or weekend {HERE is my ultimate Walla Walla guide for your next visit}

In a world that is growing more disconnected or more focused on what makes us different, I want #TheHouseGrandpaBuilt to magnetize us back together.

Vacations With Joy and Smiles

When we share our stories and have shared experiences, it bind us AND blinds us to our differences. Here, in this little corner of Washington, we’re building ties that bind us together and sharing our stories. Because it’s those stories that get passed down forever.

THIS is where I want to lay my head down each night when I look for a vacation rental.

Knowing that there are others sharing special moments in the same shared place would bring unbridled joy {and a smile} to my Grandparents’ faces. They built forever places for families across generations, and this will also hold moments forever in a shared vacation place that a boy from Palermo came and built!

Well, this post is almost novel size, but it’s the heart & SOUL of why I’m here.

We’ve traveled all over the world, Barcelona, London, and even Glamping, but this place, where it began, is the best vacation place to share. It would bring a smile to Grandpa’s face…And I lived to see my Grandpa smile!

I hope you come and share it with us someday soon. Well, after we’ve finished sprucing it up for you ;)

A Glimpse of Good
Traveler •Styler • Blogger • Books&Wine
{+Walla Walla vacation rental on the side}
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Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

Globe Gallivanter. 50+ Style Enthusiast. Book Buff. Wine Taster. Queen of Quirky | Lifestyle Blogger + Renovator of THGB