Mario Dandola, George as I knew him, passed away on Friday November 26th. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him. He has been my landlord for over 18 years. I met him in the spring of 1992 while looking for an apartment here in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He stepped outside of his shop, "George's Potpourri", when he heard me asking the corner store owner about apartments. He had rooms to rent just down the street and with a marker he drew out the layout for me. It was my lucky day!
Above are photos of George and Emily outside and inside their more recent space at 489 Court Street. Le Petit Cafe is currently expanding into their old space. The neighborhood has changed a great deal since I 1st moved here, but one thing that hasn't is George and Emily. They have been wonderful to me. George has always been kind, generous and funny. Anyone that knew him would agree he's one of a kind!
This neighborhood will most definitely not be the same without him. It's hard to believe he won't be sitting outside his shop feeding the birds, including the maligned pigeons each day or offering an icy refreshment in the summertime. He loved being social and seemed to know about any and everything going on in the area. When I told my friend he was in the hospital, her daughter exclaimed "not the nice man with the skunks?!" He sometimes gave out little good luck skunks, made of pipe cleaner, to kids and some adults, like my mom. She's even traveled out of the country with hers. I have several myself.
Currently located on a less populated block, I made this sign to help with some needed attention. George's store has some great little gems at a fraction of the cost, especially for china and crystal.
Not seeing him anymore will be a difficult adjustment. He was tough and quite robust, especially for his age. He could fix almost anything himself and was unafraid of climbing on my roof when it needed a patch up. I learned a few handy household tricks myself over the years. He liked a glass of juice or tea after making a repair. I can hear his voice so clearly. He lead an interesting life and I was most intrigued by stories about his work as a longshoreman in Red Hook. Whenever there was work to be done or he simply wanted me to clear the hallway, his favorite saying was "It's like the wall of China, go bit by bit". I think of this often because it helps with so much in life, bit by bit and step by step. I will really miss hearing him say "Ahoy there!" from across the street or "what is it now?" each time I stopped by. Upon leaving, he was fond of saying "onward and upward!" or simply telling me to "carry on".
A viewing will be held at Scotto Funeral Home tomorrow, Tues 11/30 and Wed 12/1 from 2-5p and 7-9p each day. Mass will be held on Thursday 12/2 at 9:30am at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church located at 467 Court Street (pictured below).
I will miss you George!
My heart goes out to Emily and his family.
Rest in Peace