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Friday, September 09, 2016

100 YEARS LATER, HE'S IN A GOOD PLACE NOW.

--> Today is a special day, it is a day for me to remember my dad, he would have been 100-years old today. I miss him every day, he was a kind and generous man, who had nothing, but gave it his all for family and sometimes strangers. As a child, I would look up to him in his generosity, yet as father and son, we fought on occasions over petty things.

He gave me the wonderful world of the Brooklyn Dodgers, that very idea of the underdog who will overcome the odds. When I wasn't in school, he recruited me for work in a factory during the summer, overtime hours and even weekends, all to pay for my education. I paid for it myself and am happy today to say I did.

He died at the age of 74 from lung cancer, he was a heavy smoker and was survived by my grandmother who came to birth his birth and funeral.

I remember Dad when he got up to work, a cup of coffee handed to him by me. His going into the bathroom to shave and my watching him and learning how to do it, occasionally some shaving cream smeared on the end of my nose. I remember his descending down the two flight of stairs on his way to work in the New York Laboratory and Supply Company, his lunch Mom prepared in a brown paper bag snug under his arm, his NY Daily news in his hands and his gray fedora propped tightly on his head.

Playing on the street after homework and school, waiting for Dad to come home from work, the signal I had to go upstairs to eat dinner, his walk along the sidewalks of Hull Street, the NY Journal American, folded under his arm. Racing upstairs I would seek the newspaper to read the comics with my older sister while smelling mom's cooking.

But of course, all those memories pale in comparison to his wonderful awkwardness in places like church, or anywhere he wished not to be, Mom giving him Hell because wearing a tie was not his thing, as it sat loosely around his neck, shirt collar opened.

He used to tell me stories about his growing up, stories about himself and his siblings, and the trials and tribulations of Italian parents trying to make life better. Some stories had me enraptured by the characters he mentioned, people like Happy Mione and Murder Incorporated, his own brush with the police when he and his young friends hid on a rooftop and rained firecrackers down on the men in blue, and how they chased the young rascals but never caught them.

Many a time he would hear of someone he knew who was, for instance, a widow, on hard times and in need of some help, to paint a house of fix a light or build or repair something. He would collect me from my childhood and off we went to do the work, gratis. That was Dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I miss you and most of all, thanks, I love you.

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