A tribute of love for my Bubba
Marjorie Denaburg Watsky - Pontorno
February 7, 1931 -- April 25. 2020
Little did I know at the time in the summer of 1991 that this woman, Marjorie Denaburg Watsky would have her own permanent place in my heart for the rest of my life. At 22 years old, not even living in Las Vegas (as of yet) where she, Nofio, and Yaya (aka Uncle Eddie) had recently moved to. After returning from a trip to Hawaii after my own mother passed away, I opened my own little business called “Grin and Wear It” which was a little traveling boutique.
One weekend I scheduled to work a boutique. It was located at the Hacienda Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV at the south end of the strip. The Watsky’s still had tons of retail merch from the stores in Jackson Square, New Orleans that she wanted to sell-off. Their table and mine were set up next to each other. I first met Edwardo Guillamo Pontorno and I could feel his kindness through his eyes and his smile and then it was he who introduced me to Marjorie. We hit it off immediately. We spent the weekend having a blast and getting to know each other. I immediately felt a closeness to them and from there our friendship not only started but they became my family and continued until this very day where beautiful Bubba passed away in her sleep.
At 22 years old and losing my mother, you can probably imagine the void I was left with. It was almost as if the heavens heard my pain, felt my sadness and sent me Bubba so that I could feel less heartache from the loss of my mother and still be able to experience life with 3 generations which was always my mother’s dream and my biggest regret. she never got to experience even meeting one of my children.
In October of 1991, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the next 1.5 years, Bubba and I were nearly inseparable. Nofio worked fulltime as a Poker Dealer and Uncle Eddie was still working at ABC in New York. They had an apartment there and of course Eddie would fly from NYC to LV frequently.
Bubba was very family-oriented. Her sons, Gary lived in San Diego at the time and Darren lived in Florida. They were the apple of her eye. She loved them unconditionally as any mother (hopefully) would. Lori and Sandy were loved and cherished as daughters. You didn’t have to be blood-related to be a relative of Bubba’s. I did meet many of her family members in person and the ones I didn’t, Bubba made sure I knew them as well. I knew stories of about her mother, father, sister Elaine and brothers with countless cousins, aunts, uncles, and then some. She had many best friends from her childhood that I learned about too. That's one thing we definitely shared - a LOVE for family!
When I became pregnant with Bradley, Bubba would come to appointments with me. I spent a ton of time with her. I loved her with my heart and soul. Bubba was at the hospital the night Bradley was born. She loved him immediately like any grandmother would. As time went on, and Bradley was able to speak a bit, I asked bubba if it would be ok if he called her Bubbe. At the time, she had no grandchildren (yet) So at 2 years old, without being able to say Bubbe - Bradley named her BUBBA and that has stuck all these years. Bubba’s Grandson Asher was a complete blessing for her when he joined the family. She fell in love with him and so did we all. He was just precious as can be. We couldn’t wait to see him every time he’d come to visit.
This woman I speak of spent many chapters of my life with me, comforting me, supporting me, giving me a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and my children’s. Bradley always her little boy. She loved us so. She loved me unconditionally. She absolutely loved going shopping for baby Bradley and he only wore the best when bubba was around. Once at a store - she looked at the sales agent and said, I want one of each (displayed clothes) and She wouldn’t have it any other way. They always helped me with Bradley, picked him up from school, camp, took him to Dr. Appts, celebrated all of his accomplishments, and loved him to the moon and back. Nofio and Uncle Eddie taught him basketball, to ride a jeep, a bike, a scooter, swimming. Speaking of which - Bradley decided one day to jump in the pool and Nofio took off after him (clothes and all) and scooped him up before he hit bottom. Although I don’t know for sure, that might be the start of his heart issues as he did have a heart attack the next day. Eddie taught him how to clean a pool and together they did. He also taught him how to play football and plant a garden. When My Sydney was born, she was in the operating room with Marcel and me. She had never seen a live birth and I wanted her by my side. As they started my C-section - I kept asking Bubba to take pictures, and all Bubba could say was "I can't, I'm Cryin'" in her thick southern accent- which to this day, I can actually voice-over (well sort of) and Sydney would soon fall in love with Bubba as well. Once Halle was born I had moved away but she still had a relationship with Bubba.
As the years passed, Nofio was the first to go - actually when speaking to Gary, it was this exact week that he passed away. Nofio made Edwardo promise him that if anything ever happened to him, that he would marry Bubba. Edwardo saw to it and they married. How lucky bubba was to have these 2 men. They treated her like a Queen. Ok, sometimes they didn’t talk nicely to each other, but honestly, IT WAS HILARIOUS. I can still picture Nofio sitting in the red chair at the table eating is tomato (from Eddie’s garden) and mayo - sandwich. Oh those days. I could go on forever writing about the times I’ve spent with these loves.
How lucky am I? With nearly 30 years of memories filling my heart due to the chance of meeting the most fabulous Watsky’s,& Pontorno’s.
Of course, it wasn’t always sweet? We had our moments (What family doesn't) but the love we had for each other overpowered what may or would have gone wrong and we always forgave each other. It took me years to know that I was blessed to have my mother, to begin with, I was also blessed to have bubba, to begin with.
My heart is broken. Bubba loved all of us and we never hung the phone up without an I love you. It was very recent (since she moved to New Jersey) that I told her exactly what she meant to me in my life and how much I loved her and thanked her for her unconditional love and also having her helping hand in becoming a strong woman, and raising my girls to be strong as well. Even this week, I was able to speak with her on the phone. In the last few years, she didn't hear her phone ringing and always blamed it on the phone but, if I texted her and said, call your daughter, and my phone would ring. After speaking with her Monday in the hospital, somehow I felt that would be my last. I sent her a text after which I have shown here. It was confirmed that she read it and for that, I'm grateful. She knows things about me that she will take to the grave with her, I vice-versa. That's how close we were. We didn't leave much unsaid. Bubba had her opinion about anything and everything. I don't even think Bubba had the ability to leave anything unsaid. I'm sure many can agree as well. Many times it hurt but many times it didn't. Most times it included the "F" bombs. Hindsight 20/20 it only added to the fabulous memories but I can't help to wonder if that's why I too have a habit of such words? It makes no difference now.
As you soar the heavens Bubba, may you rest easy with those that have gone before you and I know you were greeted by them all. You were a WOMAN OF VALOR Bubba and completely unforgettable.
Here on Earth, we will miss you and your southern spirit more than you will ever know. I will always hold you close in my heart and think of you always.
FUCK YOU COVID-19 - FUCK YOU 2020. You made a difference in all of our lives and because of you, our lives are more enriched. A legacy indeed!