Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza

It has been a pretty tough and sad week around here.

Jimmy, my grandmother’s “boyfriend” of 50 years passed away on Tuesday after a two week hospital stay. Jimmy was 86 and his health had been slowly declining over the past few years but it still came as a shock to see him get so sick and pass away so quickly.

My Baba (Grandmother in Ukrainian) met Jimmy in the fall of 1959 at the Pender Auditorium Dance Hall here in Vancouver. Baba’s husband had died of a heart attack two years earlier and she hadn’t done much socializing when a work friend insisted that she come along one evening to listen to the amazing band that played at The Pender and maybe do a bit of dancing.  It was on that fateful night that my Baba met Jimmy who had recently escaped from Communist Hungary and had come to Canada to find a better life. Jimmy’s real name was Istvan but he changed it to Jimmy when he hit the Canadian shores.

After a year and half of weekly meetings at the dance hall and a handful of dinner dates (often with her sister, Olga, in tow) Jimmy was being evicted from his apartment and so Baba invited her new friend to move into the basement bedroom of her house and so Jimmy became known to our family as “Jimmy the boarder”.  Amazingly, I was well into my teens before I realized that Jimmy was more than just the tenant who lived in the basement. He was more than my Baba’s “friend” but a bigger, though very quiet, part of her life and mine too. Over the many years he became my grandfather. Not by blood, but through the connection of time spent and kindness and love. He was always very gentle and cared about all of us grandkids deeply and without reservation. He was quick with a hug and a smile and some pocket change to go over and get some treats from the corner store.

And as I got older I realized he was the love of my Baba’s life.

They never had a lot of money but they lived well. They travelled the world and cooked good meals and took some great road trips and kept a beautiful garden. Jimmy loved to cut the edges of the lawn with a very sharp pair of scissors.

When my own son was old enough Jimmy was quick to slip him a five dollar bill for any achievement, real or imagined.

As much as I miss Jimmy, I know that my Baba misses him a thousand times more. My Baba, at 97 years old, has just a couple of friends left in her circle and Jimmy, in all of the years he lived here, had only one friend who ended up moving back to Hungary. They were a couple, a team and best friends for 50 years. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to lose that kind of life partner.

Even in the middle of such a bleak week there have still been a few bright spots. I am always amazed by the way life works.

My sister flew up to say goodbye to Jimmy and be here with our family. She drove my Baba and Mom wherever they needed to go, she stayed calm in the middle of some high stress moments and she worked with Max on a stop-motion animation project featuring some very treasured Lego set-ups.

We also, amazingly, had some very sweet moments at the hospital during Jimmy’s last days. We talked about how he took such pride in his polished leather shoes and well-cut suits. How he valued hard work and loved to use the phrase “take it easy” and how he never lost his very thick Hungarian accent. We also marvelled at the attentive and respectful care he received at the hospital, a real blessing for this man who hated hospitals and doctors and pills and medical machines.

I have been okay these last few days with lots to get done and plans to make and family conversations to have. Today, however, was a bit of a sad or perhaps sadder day. Not much got accomplished. Max was home from school for the long weekend and I felt so happy to have him nearby.

I made this breakfast pizza this morning, probably more as a way to keep busy than anything else. But Max liked it (although he did pick off the scallions) and there is the second pie in the fridge for Glen when he gets home from work.

For today that is more than enough.


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4 Responses to Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza

  1. Cher says:

    Julie this post just made me cry, it’s a really beautiful remembrance of someone dearly loved. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. And your Baba’s loss, but wow, what an enduring love. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Sheryl says:

    It is a gift and to have someone for so long, but it makes the missing so deep.
    See you when I get back, and love to you all….

  3. Sorry for your loss. Thank you for share such a beautiful love story. Thank you also for sharing the breakfast pizza recipe. The picture of the egg yolk spilling out…yummy!

  4. Thanks for your comments you guys. xo J

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