Gregger and I were blessed with three beautiful children, Adam, Ryan, and Ashley, two in-laws, Katrina and Tyler, and two adorable grandchildren, Jacob and Liliana. This was the crux of our family and in forty years together we had our share of love, traumas, aggravation, and more love. In addition to this blessed family, we had a fourth child…T.C. Gregger had so much love and passion for this child. He nurtured it, “fed” it, watched it tumble, grow, and eventually become nationally recognized for outstanding achievements. While I was extremely proud of T.C., I often experienced jealousy, annoyance, and resentment. How could I possibly feel that way for a child that Gregger loved so dearly? Was this not one of my own? Well, in a way it would always be a part of me, but it was clearly more near and dear to Gregger’s heart. You see, T.C. was Gregger’s life’s passion. T.C. was The Clotherie. This was Gregger’s life work.
In the beginning this was going to be a shortstop on the way to something bigger. When we landed in Phoenix in 1977 without a home, jobs, or any financial security, this was the only job offer that seemed plausible after three hopeless interviews. Gregger took a leap of faith and 38 years later T.C. was no longer something he adopted, it was his life blood. He started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. But T.C. took a toll on him and on us at times. As in all fairytales,we battled our share of demons to get to our “happy” place. Gregger sacrificed family times for T.C. times. I sacrificed Gregger time for the times he spent traveling or working late.
“Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby.”
T.C. caused his fair share of arguments. Spats over priorities was a biggie. Looking back it’s comical that Gregger spent the day at a trunk show while I lay panting in labor at the hospital. It was his first Canali trunk show of the season. It was our first baby! He raced back and forth to the hospital between clients, silently praying I could hold off until the end of the business day. I almost made it, but not quite. Second time, imagine my nerve when I unexpectedly went into labor three weeks before my scheduled c-section in the middle of a work day! By then Gregger learned, babies and T.C. are no competition for one another! Babies win!
Gregger’s biggest dilemma was he never knew how, when and where to stop giving. It was never that Gregger loved T.C. more than us. His passion and love were because of us. His passion for T.C. was to make our lives better. I learned to embrace his passion for T.C., and the more I did, the more he tried to let go…a little bit. He gave up T.C. on Sundays and made that our special day. Mind you, T.C. was just a phone call and a text away. The Gregger was never unplugged, but I learned to accept that too. He just loved it that much. And I loved him even more. I believe when you really, truly love someone you learn to embrace their passions even if it means sacrificing a little bit of yourself. In the end, I really gave up nothing. I became happier because he was happier. It was a win-win for both of us.
T.C. was an integral part of OUR fairytale. Always was, always will be. There are no price tags for the lessons in love, life, loyalty, honesty, dedication, and passion. I learned to respect Gregger for his passion. I learned to give him space and time to build his dreams. I can’t pinpoint the moment in time, but at some point our dreams melded into one. We were on the same path, headed in the same direction. We took lots of turns along the way. Sometimes I went right and he went left, but eventually we met in the middle and found our way together.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
T.C. belongs to someone else now. It’s still as chic, savvy, and stylish as it’s been for the past 47 years. The supporting team still stands. It hurts my heart to visit T.C. these days. Gregger’s presence is dissipating, but his legacy lives on. Steve Jobs said, “”Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” The Gregger never settled. He climbed his mountain all the way to the top and enjoyed it every step of the way…the challenges, the struggles, the joys, but most of all the people he met along the way. He truly loved “his” people…they were all part of “his” family. Thank you T.C. for being part of our family for all those years. You will always hold a special place in our hearts because you hold a piece of the Gregger. We will miss you.