So Thursday started just like most weekdays, getting set up and doing our Cheesecake Baking and building our Costco orders. That would change in the early afternoon. First some background. Over the past 12 years I have made a lot of friends here at Charlie’s Cheesecake Works, one in particular was Joe. Didn’t ever ask his last name. Joe was a casual customer from the beginning, he would stop in on the weekends or late afternoons and we would just chat. I learned that he was a WWII vet. That made him around the same vintage as my dad who passed in 1999. I learned that Joe had several kids, in particular one son who he seemed to talk about a little more than the others. One day I commented that I had just finished reading a book, as part of my Men’s Group, Called “Wild at Heart”; I commented that it embodied a lot of the values that my Grandparents had taught me. I commented that it would be a good read for some of the younger men. Joe asked if he could borrow the book when I was done.
A couple weeks later he showed up and I gave him the Book, he said he might pass it along to his son if that was ok. I said sure, just see that I get it back some day.
Back to Thursday. It is early afternoon and a petite silver haired woman comes into the store, i ask if i can help her. I can tell that she is having a tough time; I can see it in her eyes. She asks if I am Charlie? Yes I said, her next comment took me by total surprise. She said, ” I am Joe’s wife Margaret, and I am returning your book, Joe passed away recently. I was not sure how to respond. I asked how it happened and got the short chronology of the past 3 or so months. He had gone downhill pretty fast from nursing home to hospice to the end
Then she said something that really shook me to the core, I don’t know what I am going to do without Joe” I have nothing left to live for…. at that point i took her hand and asked about the kids, she said she had several Sons, one living with her and the others spread around. I said, Margaret let me tell you about my Mom….She was married to my Step Dad Hal for over 40 years, his last years were pretty tough, and Dementia is pretty ugly. Mom would not let Hal go into a home; she kept him with her til the end. I know that when he passed 9 years ago she felt just like you do. But look at this picture here on the side of my Freezer, that is my Mom (88 Years Young) and My 2 grand kids, 11 and 15. Mom has been a Dodger Baseball fan since she was a Teenager, and my Grand kids just love to play baseball 24-7, they are Giants Fans. Every weekend my grand Kids call my Mom and the talk Baseball, Little league, Travel Ball or the big leagues.
Margaret i said you have a lot to live for…. just look around, you have kids and grand kids, they all need you to be the Matriarch of the family. A frail smile came to her face, I then gave her a pack of Cheesecake Poppers, and my Phone number and told her she could call me any time she wanted. As I walked her out I noticed she seemed a little brighter than when she arrived.
Hard to imaging this all came from just loaning a book to a friend. I am sure Margaret will be just fine, just like my Mom has been over the past 9 years; she will find that there are a lot of reasons to hang around a lot longer…
Yelp Post from Lauren C.
SOLD AT FIRST BITE! Charlie’s Cheesecake is absolutely delicious! The owner Charlie is too precious, not only does he make all the cheesecake, but he is the front man of his shop! When we first walked in, immediately we mentioned we were new and found him on yelp, so right away he handed us samples to try! The blueberry popper was perfect, small light and just sweet enough where you crave more! The vanilla was similar to a classic cheesecake and was just as awesome! Without hesitation we bought a 12-pack for $10 (yelp discount) and we were on our merry way promising we would be back for more!
A must try in the south San Jose area!