A father for Father’s Day

Maybe I am just one of those unexplained mysteries in life. Maybe because I always wondered about my biological father. Maybe that is why I have been so lucky in my life having two “fathers”.

My sons’ father is the best father and grandfather I have ever seen.  His unconditional love, his self-sacrificing dedication and his ability to keep giving and giving can not be denied.  I believe that the word, “no” is just not a word to him.  He has always said “yes” to the needs of his children, and for that matter to me as well.  Fathers like Rocco are rare, but I know there are a few out there. For instance, my son, Rocky is a dad like his father.  He has the same inner ability to love his daughter so completely and unconditionally. As she grows, I hope she realizes more and more how very wonderful he is and how dedicated he is to her.

My “dad”and my “brother” raised me to be a person who is true to herself, kind to others, and to care about the world around me. My “dad” passed when I was sixteen years old.  My brother is still the one I look to for answers.  Whether or not he reaizes it, he is still the one I depend on.

Today I want to tell you about my brother, Tommy.

If one could picture the life of a person when they were a child and to realize that what they have been through is no life for any child, then they would know that the man I know as Tommy, who came out of that life better and stronger, is in itself miraculous.  They would know that this wonderful man is the most selfless, loving, hard-working man that was ever born.

It was a tough life when my brother was a small child.   His father was an alcholic and the venom from this sickness took its ugly poison out on my brother and his siblings.  Without going into too much detail, let me suffice to say Tommy took the brunt of that venom.  It became so bad that for a time his mom sent him to live for awhile to her sister so he could escape the onslaught. When I was born Tommy was ten years old.

I turned seven when I first started to notice who it was that was nurturing me and making sure I had everything I needed, like food, clothing and shelter. Tommy was now seventeen and graduated High School.  He was also the protector for my “mom” and me.  Ever since he was able to work he made sure our mom and me were taken care of.

Life wasn’t all bad. He was also a prankster and a loyal friend.  Some of the funniest episodes I ever heard were about the pranks my brother would pull on his family, friends and co-workers.  When our sister, Joanie passed away at the age of twenty-nine from complications after brain surgery to remove a tumor, she left two small babies behind.  One was two years old and the other was six months.  While their dad had to keep working, my mom took them in to live with us in our six room tenement apartment in Park Slope.  They spent Monday through Friday with us and their dad took them on the weekends.  Tommy immediately took on the role of dad to them during those days and had always taken that role on for me.  Yes, our siblings helped as well.  There was after all, eight of us altogether. I was the youngest.  I recall Tommy taking us to the World’s Fair in Flushing, Delancy Street in Manhattan for clothes, and to the local theatre for movies, etc. If we had any treats or toys it was Tommy who bought them. When the boys turned seven and five, their dad remarried a wonderful woman named Eileen. Together they brought the boys to live with them, of course, leaving us left us with  heavy hearts because they were more like brothers and sons to us.  Years later we now know that it was best for them to leave and have a life with their own dad and stepmom.  However, I was still there and Tommy became more like a dad to me than ever and when “daddy” died, it was Tommy who pulled me through just as he did when we lost “mommy” and then did the same when we lost two more of our sisters and our niece. He pulled me out of so many childhood and young adulthood mistakes. He helped me when sickness befell my baby boy, he helped me when I thought I would sink from financial disaster. I cannot recall one time in life good or bad when Tommy wasn’t right there, or just a phone call away.  He is the one constant in my life.  The person to whom I owe everything.

By now you must have surmised why I chose to write this Father’s Day tribute to my wonderful brother Tommy.  There just isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or even talk to him.  He has always been my confidant, my advisor, my father in every sense of the word.  Even though I am a grown woman, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend..none of those titles would have been possible without Tommy in my life.  He is officially “my brother” but everything he has ever done for me is something a great dad would do.  So I want to tell him Happy Father’s Day and that even though he chose not to have children of his own, he has helped raise and has given to all his sisters, nieces and nephews so very much that the title Father belongs to him.

He never truly gets the recognition and appreciation for everything he has always done from his heart, so this small tribute is my way of saying thank you with all my heart for being the best real Dad I never really had.

Happy Father’s Day, Tommy.

And that’s the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

 

 

 

 

FLAG DAY 2016

american-flag-summary

Awaking on Sunday morning June 12, 2016 I turned on the television as a I normally do to watch Charles Osgood, Early Morning Sunday News on CBS Channel 2 in NYC.  Instead there was a special report about a mass shooting that took place in Orlando FL during the hours of my sleep.  By the time the day was done I learned that 50 people were dead and 54 were seriously injured by an unbalanced individual who held a rapid repeating gun and shot innocent human beings who had gathered to celebrate in a nightclub called PULSE.  Most of the patrons were of the LGBT community.  All the gunman’s insane thoughts were to kill as many gay people as he could in the name of his chosen ideology of radical Islam.  He lost his own life this day as well, being shot by the brave people of law enforcement, who responded to the call of help from all those who managed to escape the onslaught.

There are thousands of opinions flowing out there over this horrific event, personal, political, religious, et al and we can’t ignore them all, but we can perhaps learn something from each of them.  Hopefully, there will be an idea out there that will enact a change in all of us.  I feel as if I have been sitting by complacently since the horrific attack on America on September 11, 2001. Just watching my beloved country defending itself against those who wished to harm her and her people.  It seems there have been horrific attacks worldwide for many different reasons  since that horrible day, but this horrible day has woken me up.

We don’t want this to be a war of religions because that would mean its World War 3 and that is something none of us want to happen nor even fathom. The thought brings with it a meaning that it’s the end of civilization as we have come to know it.  Personally, I don’t want there to be war anywhere.  I am a peaceful human being who loves all human beings who are not evil.  Oh yes, I said that.  Evil is out there although I am not a fanatic about it –I know it exists.  It exists in everyone who puts their own will above everyone else’s and in order to achieve their own self satisfaction they need to harm or kill others to express that evil of hate and/or violence.  Those acts of violence are the epitome of evil to me.

I have heard and listened to the thoughts of well known people such as: celebrities, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert; Internet personality, Tomi Lauren; Muslim leaders, Imam Anjem Choudhry, and CAIR Executive Director, Mihad Awad; world leader, President Obama; political leaders, Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders; recognized and respected Professor and Author, Dr. George Rodman.  I have even listened to one of the Christian leadership ‘s most bigoted personalities (also a Reverend and author) , Pastor Robert Jeffress and the attorney, Eliot Spitzer.  I have listened to my family and friends.

All their messages were different, but all told me the same thing.  It is time for change in America.  It is time that we get out of the problems in the Middle East once and for all. Is it a time when we wake up to realize that money is the reason behind all the arguments. Progress for future generations should be the only motive.  It is those who control the events around the world whose only thought is to make a profit off the hardships of others, it is time for that to stop.

We have been trying since the 1960s to make peace the theme of the world. After the postwar of September 11th we are far overdue for this to become a reality.  No arguments over guns, politics, religion or greed will ever be solved.  Those things are only battles in this current climate.  We need to be victorious in bringing about a peaceful and tolerable world and the only way to do that is to live in each country as we did in the past and no longer be involved in trying to bring democracy to any other nation.  We have to live by example there is no other solution to end these awful violent acts worldwide.  We start here in America with our flag flying high.  We start here in America where we all assimilate.  We start here in America where the world knows just by our united stance that we will defend our country with all our might just as the other countries will do the same for their own.  We will welcome new people to our shores legally all those who wish to come here because they are willing to become Americans and practice their individual languages, cultures and religion in their own homes, mosques, temples, and churches , just as our ancestors have done.  Only as a united America renewed in her peaceful meaning and tolerant nature will we accomplish the theme of peace worldwide.

No, I don’t mean that we need to tolerate the acts of the imbalanced individual whose disturbed persona allows the integrated ideology of extremists to penetrate their psyche, no, those who do this, naturally must be punished either through death or incarceration or perhaps reached in time to be helped.  Yes, we have to enact new laws that include controlling what guns are permitted to be owned by our citizens.  Not banish the 2nd Amendment just tweak it so it truly means what it was supposed to mean before the age of the automatic rifles, grenades, etc.  A handgun for personal defense of home and family, a hunting rifle for those who wish to practice this barbaric sport, that should be enough to cover the rights in the 2nd amendment.  The NRA only seeks to make a profit, so allow their profits to be made through the military and law enforcement for those are the only avenues that I see a need for automatic weapons.  Of course, I don’t believe I need a gun and that is also my right under the Constitution and Declaration of Independence or what I know of them.  Help the mentally ill wherever and whenever you encounter these individuals.  I believe that intervention for the sole purpose of protecting the mentally disturbed individual so that they do not harm themselves or others has to be a center of study in America today.  You cannot get a handle on one without the other.

Take a good hard look at America today and realize that we need to stop, think, and listen.  We need to put a serious movement forward which promotes all of the things I mentioned today, but most of all we must see our flag and know the meaning of her is to defend our very own country because we all made her exist.  No matter what creed, no matter what race, no matter what color, all of us as human beings seeking to practice our faiths and our beliefs (whatever they may be) in one land have created the America I know and love to this day.  To stand strong, proud and tolerant under one flag is the greatest example for anyone who is oppressed and in need to see.  We can always be the hope of the world if we want to be, we can always find a way to do exactly what our founding fathers intended us to know and to do, we can change ourselves around by looking back, looking straight ahead and looking forward.  Accepting that this is every single American’s responsibility, purpose and belief will lead that theme of peace and it will spread, as surely as I am typing this blog today, it will.  It doesn’t much matter who leads the country in today’s world.  What matters is its’ people and their desire to change and show their leader how they want their country lead and that the intolerance that has labeled us since September 11th will stop because the event of June 12th was the wake up call that resounded around the globe reminding us all who are privileged to live in this country that peace and tolerance is the only weapon anyone will ever need.

May her glory forever wave.

And that is the way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

 

 

 

It Takes A “Special” Man To Be A Dad!

MyDad.jpeg

Special is defined in the English dictionary in this way: unusual or better; held in esteem; reserved; made for specific purpose; arranged for specific purpose, etc. In accordance with that definition, my dad was a very “special” person. Today May 4, 2016 is the 47th Anniversary of his death.  I was sixteen years old.

Complex; complicated; misunderstood; unstable; loving; self-educated. My dad had a disease known as alcoholism. As mean as he could be when he drank he could be just as kind and nurturing when he didn’t.  I often thought of him as two people in one. His need for alcohol was always present, although it lessened in his later years. I came into his life when he was forty-three years old. I like to believe that I made a difference in his life at that point. Members of my family have told me that he was crazy about me at the instant of my birth. My memories begin when I was a small child. Naturally, some of those memories are not good. I would rather focus today on the memories of Dad that have stayed with me my entire life.

The most poignant memories begin with Dad and me watching television in our tenement living room. I would sit on the floor, he in his favorite chair. On the screen before me was always a movie starring either John Wayne, James Cagney, Busby Berkley Musicals or Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers. My Dad would tell me all about the stars in those movies and we would often sing along if it was a musical. When we weren’t watching television, he would work with me on my homework assignments and every day he would “assign” me the jumble puzzle printed in the Daily News. I was always praised and rewarded if I got the jumble words correct. In those days, many students went home at lunchtime. I was one of them and for lunch my dad would prepare grilled cheese sandwiches cooked in the waffle iron, or heat up Franco American spaghetti for me. On Fridays he would add a fish cake or fist sticks with the Franco American spaghetti as the side. He always tried to make lunchtime fun for me. After school, I would often sit at his feet as he told me stories about his adventures in the military or advised me about the importance of education and the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I always thought he was truly a smart man. Even when he wasn’t sober, there were things that he said that remain with me. When I first heard the words he said, my thought was that he was a very selfish person, but as I got older I realized the words he used were quite filled with real wisdom. He would always say whether drunk or sober, “Me, Myself and I , first comes me then comes you, capital R capital O capital N.” Today I realize that he was saying a person needs to care first for themselves before they can take care of others. It wasn’t a selfish statement at all,  instead it was the most sage advice I ever received.

My Dad as complicated as he was, was truly a special man and if he were here today, I would thank him for all those times he was there for me and for all the times that he made me feel like the “special” one. My hope is that after all this time his spirit is at peace now.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

 

K

Looking Ahead

Yes, I know it has been awhile since I have been here.  By now I should be filled with words, ideas, opinions.  Thoughts that will somehow change a life if not the world.  It isn’t as if I don’t have lots to say.  There is enough material around to keep me writing for months. 2016 is a busy year.  Lots of weddings, parties, doctor visits. It’s an election year as well, and boy is America reeling with opinions and competition!

I should tell you that it has been a slow go since my surgery last November. So many tests to follow up with and new docs to see.  For awhile I had thought my back problem improved and my life was gonna change delightedly for the better, but nope right back to square one with no hope in view that I will ever boogie as I once did.  There are other productive things though as long as they don’t take standing more than 10 minutes at a time.

My youngest son got engaged last November and life continues once again.  Unfortunately, being the mother of the groom there isn’t much to do in terms of planning and such.  I love my sons totally, but it’s kinda sad that I’ll never know the joy of having a daughter as well.  The mothers of girls seem to have most of the fun sharing, planning, spending time with their daughters more often than the boys do with their mothers.  I truly am very grateful for all my sons do for me and with me, guess it’s like they say, “You always want what you can’t have.” It should be a great December wedding though!  Christmas in the air and all!

Day to day life for me is truly blasé now that I am retired and without true mobility. Even my wondrous friend, writing, is suffering from the doldrums.  Bare with me as I am trying to revive this tired old friend, hoping to bring a fresh new outlook to its soul while keeping its heart beating stronger than ever.

So we are living in an election year.  Attempting to elect a new POTUS. The playing field is astounding. We have Bernie Sanders (not the Colonel) and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump (yea the Millionnaire) on the Republican side.  Not a day goes by where I am not either astounded or hysterically laughing. How this isn’t the biggest political fiasco of all time is beyond me.  I love America and believe always that it is the greatest country on earth…..but with this election my head is hiding in my elbow 90% of the time!

Hopefully, my thoughts will stop gathering moss and I’ll share my own insights into this year’s election shenanigans very soon.

Until then,

That’s the Way I See it here in Brooklyn!

K

 

 

 

Whirlwind

This past week has placed my mind on a Whirlwind Merry Go Round. This coming week I am headed into a life changing experience that leaves me both exhilarated and terrified at the same time.

My health has deteriorated at a rapid pace these past few months and what I believed for three years to be the sole cause of my circumstances, wound up being a misconception at best by the doctors whose care I was under.

In the last two weeks I have experienced and am still experiencing a pain so profound in my right leg that it can be compared only to that of labor before birth.  It seems I have developed an artery disease that rivals those of an octogenarian’s in poor health.  Undoubtedly, say the doctors due to smoking all those years.  Though one cardiologist agreed with me that is not the only mitigating factor concluding as I do that “genes” is the basic foundation for my current issues. Taking on the responsibility that I am overweight for my height had been another revelation to me since being told for the past three years that exercise was out of the question for me unless it was in water because of the impact on my spine and its condition.  A person cannot lose weight if they are unable to move physically over a long period of time.  The agility and mobility of the human body ceases when inactive.  My recommendation to all is to do everything you can to keep moving and everything else in moderation.

Now getting back to my “whirlwind” of emotions causing me confusion in these past few days.  This recently discovered disease within my body has frightened me more than anything I has ever been presented to me or witnessed by me in the past, with exception of any health issues concerning my sons, this is the most terrifying to me. I have been told that there are blockages and blood clots within my system so severe that they are cutting off circulation to my leg. The specialist from NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, who I met for the first time yesterday seems to be a kind, concerned, experienced physician/surgeon in his field of vascular diseases and their treatments and remedies.  To say this disease, though known to me in name only, is one that I have the least past experience with is an understatement.  No one knows how another person feels when they learn they have something very serious that could possibly be a life threatening one, so unless one has been through it personally, it is quite overwhelming. I find the hardest emotion to deal with is loss of control, the second is fright of the unknown.  I am trying very hard to remain calm and logical.  Trying to get those who care for me to understand that this is one area where Mama doesn’t have the answers that would somehow alleviate much of their worry.  I am truly hoping for the best outcome and to do my best to believe if I do my part by taking self-responsibility my life will surely improve immensely.

Still waiting on clearance from cardiologist and if it clears him, I will be undergoing the procedure on Wednesday.  I want to get better and I want to celebrate all the milestones ahead, so I will keep my faith, calm the “whirlwind” in my mind and if all goes well, I will write again soon.  Just keep moving, keep dancing, keep smiling!

And that’s The Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

 

Dear Political Representatives

Today September 11, 2014 a day to remember our fallen, our injured, our heartbreak seems to be the most poignant day for me to write this blog post. On that beautiful September morning with the sun shining brightly our country was attacked by an enemy.  Their purpose was to hurt our financial and military centers and in doing so they killed, hurt and forever injured people and destroyed buildings.  They will never succeed though, not as long as we remember that September morning.

Most of us were preparing to begin our day when the phones started ringing and the radios and televisions were turned on.  The shock of what was occurring sent daggers of pain through our bodies into our hearts.  Here we sat a country at peace being attacked by an enemy filled with hate for what we stand for and how we live. Many of us worried about our friends and family who might be in the vicinity of that attack.  Then that day, the days and weeks that followed turned into more pain and more resolve to unite and make our country whole again.  That is the feeling that remains with most of us to this day.  No one wants war, no one wants to live more in peace that the American people.  We strife for that every single day. Most of us choose to love instead of to hate.

If, through life experiences, I have learned anything it is to stop expecting others to feel as I do.  I have finally arrived at a place in life where I can love without expecting anything in return.  I would like nothing more than to know the people who hate us and to show them that we are all the same…humans.  However, the reality is that those who hate us will continue to hate us and I am fine with that as long as their hate stays within the boundaries of their own territories.  If they would allow me to love them and trust them and accept their viewpoints, I could do that without hesitation.  As an individual, I can do my part on a daily basis, being one with my fellow-man, but on a grand scale will this really work?  The political climate as of late has me questioning that possibility.  I am consistently getting emails from organizations such as MoveOn, Change.org, etc.  that rejoice at the deal currently being offered to the Iranians. Everyday I read in the newspaper or online how another political representative has decided to vote in favor of this deal.  The reasoning it appears is to avoid a war.  Avoid a war?  Only our President can declare war with the backing of our Senators and Congressmen, so if it isn’t declared by them, than there is no war to worry about.  This deal, from what I have read of it, offers many concessions to those who call themselves “our enemy”.  I can accept that if only the exposed truth is that we are laying flowers of peace at their feet in order that they leave us alone and at peace within our own country.  However, the realist in me doesn’t see that.  The constant reports through Media is that the terrorists groups within the country of Iran never stop hating us, no matter how many concessions, gifts and or investments we make in their country.  Their religious beliefs seem to dictate their actions.  No matter how much our instincts are to help the abused, to rescue the weak and poor, those that choose to hate instead of love will continue to do so.  Nothing convinced me more than the video I saw portraying an interview with a leader of Iran.  That recent video, taped in 2015 was undeniable.  The hate for America and Americans is stronger than ever before, yet we are at peace here.  We are attempting to offer this country a choice to stop hating and to accept.  Do you truly trust people who continue to terrorize others as a people who are willing to abide by that offer?  After September 11, 2001, I have lost trust in that belief.  No matter how hard I try, the reality of their actions and words cause me continued pain.  They have convinced me, a common American citizen, that I can never trust them no matter how much I want to.  I cannot expect them to feel as I do just because I care about them unconditionally.

To convince me this deal is a good one and will bring everlasting peace to all nations, I would need to see that our own political representatives are free from financial gains from this deal.  I would need to see that the trust we are giving to the Iranian militants and religious factions is truly accepted by them as an olive branch. I, for one, have a hard time believing that I will not be hurt again by the actions of those who choose to hate us no matter how much love I have for my fellow human beings.  Why don’t most of you have that same distrust?  What proof do you need other than the daily actions of the terrorists within that country?  As an American, I have too much pride probably in my country, but I won’t excuse that.  I love America and what it stands for.  I still believe with all my heart that we are the best chance of refuge for the tired, the poor, the sick and the persecuted.  I face the reality that we are imperfect and have made many mistakes as we grow from a teenage country into a full-fledged adult country, after all we are pretty young in comparison to the countries around the world and their histories.  Just like I made allowances for my own, and just as I have learned from my mistakes, so do I have faith that my country will as well.  So I guess what I am asking you as my representatives is to take a long hard look at this deal and make sure it is not another mistake we may make because we are trying to make “our enemy our friend”, instead of accepting that our enemy may not want to be our friend nor expecting them to want to be our friend.  And if you find that this deal isn’t truly the one that will be fair to both America and Iran, if you have the slightest doubt at all, please don’t force us into it.  To do that would be no better than when a war was forced upon us because of the actions of those who hate us and the proof of that can be found in the memory of September 11, 2001 when America was at peace and the sun was shining.

And that is the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

My son, the published author

I am so excited today! My eldest son, Rocky (Rocco) Napoli has published his first short story today on Amazon.com!

It feels like eons since he first told me about his dream of being a published author.  To know Rocky is to love him.  He is intelligent, charismatic and possesses a way with words that can transcend your imagination.  Sure, people are going to proclaim I say these things cause I am his mother, but that just isn’t the case.  As he can tell you himself, I am his biggest critic.  Not that I mean to be or that I have malicious intent, no, no far from it!  I have always been so very proud of him and feel that I know him well.  He has never been ordinary, he has always been extraordinary and has shown his father and I a deep and compassionate soul.  His understanding of whatever subject matter was before him consistently astounds us from his unique perspective and profound understanding.  He often spoke about publishing a novel and pursuing a career as a writer and now he has set down his foot on that path.  While this is just the very beginning with the publication of his first short story, I have no doubt that he has begun a journey of discovery and self-appreciation, which he so aptly deserves.

You can PURCHASE and read his first short story at the following: image

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VUAVPQR

(search for The Paper Boat on Amazon.com in books)

I hope you will enjoy this intriguing and mesmerizing short read into the fascinating psyche of a promising author.   The Paper Boat is a story that anyone with a good imagination and a wish for acceptance will thoroughly enjoy!  Happy reading!

And that is The Way I See It, here in Brooklyn!

K