It was Christmas 1985, Renee had the baby, Anthony, that previous Labor Day Weekend. It was a rare occasion for my father to see us these days, however, he was separated from Suzy now and back living with Grandmother and Grandfather for the time being, so mom feeling the spirit of the holiday agreed to let dad take us for the afternoon. We were at the Seneca Mall, where my grandfather had played Santa for years. It was always great to go to the Mall where Grandfather was playing Santa to see him. He loved doing it, He was the perfect Santa too: Thinning white hair which perfectly blended in with the wig and beard, about 6 foot tall and a belly that would make the real Santa proud. That mall was bustling with holiday shoppers as it was only two weeks before the big day. There was a line of kids to see him at least 30-40 deep, a line that would even make Ralphie cringe. My grandmother was also in the mall, doing some shopping for us kids no doubt. We were sitting in the center concourse of the mall watching the shoppers go by taking a break while Renee fed Anthony a bottle when a commotion broke out and people started screaming. My father told us to stay put while he went to see what was going on. It was at that very minute that we saw my grandmother running down the concourse screaming to my father to come help.
We all got up and started running, even my sister was sprinting down the concourse with the baby in her arms. As we got closer to Center Court where the Mall has set up the Santa display, we could see parents consoling their distraught children. We arrived at Center Court to see Mall Security attending to my grandfather who had collapsed, falling out of his chair to the floor right there at Center Court in front of all those kids! It was surreal. The paramedics would arrive shortly after we arrived at the scene and took over for the Mall Security. My Father and Grandmother were standing by my Grandfather’s side who was now on a stretcher, his wig and beard had been removed but he was still in his Santa Suit. My Brother Sister and I were standing off to the side, my sister was sobbing, holding Anthony as tightly as she could. I can remember a stranger come up to us and ask if we needed help. We politely declined. My grandfather was transported to the hospital by the paramedics and my father took us, kids, home. We later learned that Grandfather had suffered a stroke right there at Center Court in front of all those poor kids. My grandfather would make a modest recovery but there was damage to his one side. Just as there was damage to the kids that had seen his collapse.