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My dad
I don't recall ever speaking about him...

Basically he died almost 18 years ago. I didn't speak about him because I ignored his death. It helped me cope. I went to his grave once, the day of his funeral. And not since except when my mom a few months ago. I felt guilty as all hell but it helped me also not to deal with it.

Then my mom passes. And my guilt compounded as I went to visit her and found myself kneeling in front of my dads grave. Mom's was pristine as the head marker is new. Dad's is suffering form 15 years of age... On my last visit I cleaned it up and came to grips with his passing...


Anyway, my dad.

He was born in Malta. A tiny tiny island just south of Sicily, Italy. He was technically born a Brit. Malta was under English rule up until 1967. He was born 1911 and came to this country in 1923. He had 5 brothers but 2 died of childhood diseases (don't ever forget how good we have things today). When he first came he was an elevator operator in the Empire State Building. He & my grandfather came with little more than a dream as they left my grandmother and his younger brother (my uncle paulie) back in Malta. I guess the primary reason for his coming here was a dispute he had with my great grandfather. It seems he was wealthy and powerful. He controlled all shipping in and out of Malta as he owned the land the docs were on. He had a prearranged marriage for my grandfather but my grandad had other ideas. He married a "peasant" woman and my great granddad disowned him. Much of the country would not hire him so he fled here shortly after my other uncles passed (around 3 years old & a year apart).

3 years later my grandfather returned to Malta leaving my dad here and returned with his wife and my uncle Paul. Shortly afterwards my Uncle Joe was born.

When WWII broke out my dad tried to enlist. Alas they would not have him sighting flat feet. Around 4 months later he tried again in another recruiting office and again was denied. With all his friends & his 2 brothers in the army he felt terrible. Alas, he was drafted and accepted.

He was color blind and therefore destined to be a sharpshooter (color blind people do not rely on colors and therefore can spot snipers far more easily). He was a great shot and earned many medals (I have them).

Again they found his flat feet and decided staying in the states was his destiny. He was part of training and suffered quite a few accidents in this. One guy shot a grenade launcher near my dads face as he was r4eaching for hearing protectors. Punctured eardrums. Another occasion a rifle exploded and he got shrapnel in his eye. They wanted to discharge him but he would not have it. They tried to promote him but he didn;t want to be an officer. So he remained a Sergeant and they made him a medic. Eventually he was shipped out and served in a MASH-like army hospital in India.

When he returned from the army he caught a break and became a janitor in a school in NYC. He worked his way through the ranks quickly and earned the title of Custodian Engineer. Somewhere in all that he married my mom. They lived next door to one another for many many years but my mom showed no interest in this older guy. Until he came back form the army. They were married in 1951, I was born in Brooklyn 1953. In 1958 they bought a house which I now own. My dad paid off that $14,000 mortgage after 20 years in 1973 (he was then 62).

He remained proud of his service in the army. Proud of his kids (I had a sister born in 57) and adored my mom. They lived a simple life much like the Donna Reed show.

He died of a very rare cancer at the age of 75. The national average. (he smoked cigerattes for about 60 years of his life... Not the first 12 nor the last 11)

I dont know what to say, but I read the whole thing and Skip

it was a very touching story.
Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.
George Carlin
Sounds like your father was a great man, John.
That was an amazing story skip, thank you for sharing... my gran passed awhile back who raised me.  she was a  dispatch in WWII, oh the stories.  I have moments where I have a hard time coming to grips with it, still have not been to the headstone.  Again thank you.
Great story Skip, and thanks for sharing. I'll raise a toast to your Dad and your entire family this Christmas.

Doc Stogie Fresh
beautifully written john.  a father should always be his son's hero.  a toast to all the dads. 
Rob The Long Island Cowboy Wrote:beautifully written john.  a father should always be his son's hero.  a toast to all the dads. 

Thanks for sharing John. It's all good my friend. 
"God is a havana smoker, I've see his gray clouds"
Thanks all. It felt good to share. I didn't know what you'd all think but as usual you guys are amaizing.
Beautiful Skip!!
If Sonny had EZ-Pass, he'd have survived that hit...
Never apologize mister, it's a sign of weakness. - Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles

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