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