In my mind there is a vague, foggy image of my Daddy in a hospital bed. It was the last time I ever saw him. He had just had surgery which removed his largnyx from throat cancer. It was sad to see him lying there unable to do what he loved to do best…talk. My father was not the best man. He had a terrible disease it was alcholism along with some mental issues. So most of his life he was pretty unstable and when he was drunk he was downright mean. However, I was the youngest to come into the family of 8 children and so I was the lucky one. He was never mean to me. He taught me all the things I can still recall today. Along with forcing my studies in academia, he also fostered my love of the arts. He taught me about dancing, joking, and singing. He taught me about movies especially the old time musicals. I think to this day my being born somehow allowed him to make up for some of the awful things he did to my mother and my siblings.
He died on May 4, 1969 at the age of 60. Not from the cancer that took away his voice, but from the pneumonia he caught after that surgery. The actual memories are a bit foggy now since it happened 48 years ago today, but the memories of him are deeply imbedded into my subconscious and yes, even in my heart. My brother, Tommy was more like an actual dad to me, moreso after my father passed away. However, I cannot help but recall the many good things my father taught me and the one thing I am certain of is that he genuinely loved me. He always made me feel like I could accomplish anything, be anyone. He emphasized my need to understand what I read, to spell correctly and to do basic math. He showed me fun ways to learn and he taught me a profound lesson in believing that everyone learns something new every single day they are alive. Everytime I solve a jumble of words, it is my father’s face I see urging me to keep trying until I get it. Whenever I see an old time musical film, it is his face and his actions that are sitting right there telling all about the songs, the music, the actors. In my own way, I miss him very much. I don’t like all of the negative things I know about him nor do I ever totally forgive him for some of the things he did, but I now understand that it was not by choice but by his illnesses that caused his behaviour. So yes, I love him as well.
I just didn’t want this day to go by without remembering the man I knew. The one who loved me, taught me so very much and who left an indelible mark upon my soul, my mind and my heart. I truly hope he has found his peace in the afterlife and that after all this time all his trangressions are finally forgiven. One day Daddy, I will write about all your crazy antics and allow that good part of you and the crazy part of you to share the same spotlight.
And That’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn.