Daddy’s Little Girl

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.

K

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A humbling experience: Civics 101

Being a practical shut in affords me the luxury of being able to take advantage of Television, which in the past three months has become my virtual classroom.  This week in particular while watching the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee Hearings I had a chance to see a portion of my government at work.  I am at awe, in particular, watching the inquisition of the nominee of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court of the United States.  I have heard a multitude of dissenting opinions from people I respect about their pre-conceived notions of how this man will be a bad pick because President Trump nominated him.  They could not be more wrong.  This Judge is a Judge of the people.  This Judge is a respected scholar who knows the law and the Constitution like his own wife’s name. With the questions before him by the Democratic Party when asked if he feels committed to side with his nominator or the nominating party on three separate questions of this nature this was his consistent responses in his  own words, ” No.” “I am my own man.” And “No one is going to capture me.”  How can one not consider a man of such outstanding quality?  His record speaks for itself.  He has no hidden agenda. His love and respect for this Nation is apparent in his composure , his reactions and his responses.  This man is an excellent choice for a Supreme Court Justice.

Now for the other part of my Civic 101 lesson.  I had always believed that the term “special interest” was referring to corporate over individual or money and might over humanity.  Well thanks to these Hearings I have been able to witness first hand how wrong and misguided I have been.  Thank you Judge Gorsuch again for going through this grueling process so that I might learn a thing or two.  I now realize that it is the democratic/liberal/progressive side of our government that are truly the parties of “special interest”.  As I listened and paid close attention to every question, innuendo and clarification presented by the Democratic Senators “special interest” was the premise behind each and every one of them.  They “pretended” to be outraged by individuals who were affected by decisions made in Federal courts, but it was clear that it was to denounce the nominee not that they had any in depth knowledge of the people involved, not that they took any responsibility for creating the law in the first place, not any ambition toward changing the laws they claim to be disparaging.  Nope none of that.  They appear childish, vindictive and without substance in all their presentations during this process. The other side naturally were more “friendly” but that was a given expectation.  What I heard from the republican side in discussing the “special interest” view was common sense, a respect for the laws of the land, a willingness to change things that might need changing and a willingness to disagree with the Executive branch of government if needed.

So what did I learn? That 3/4 of Democrats and the like are the party of “special interests”. That about 1/3 of Republicans are for “special interests”. And that both parties have a greater power than the Executive Branch, with few exceptions. That if our Judiciary is made up of Judges like Judge Gorsuch our country has nothing to worry about concerning the proper application of its’ laws.  He is a man of integrity who will live by the words of the Constitution all its Articles and Amendments in the pursuit of justice for all mankind.  He is someone I am proud to call an American because he personifies the best inside all of us.

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

K

I won’t apologize

It is the weekend of September 11, 2016.  Fifteen years since America’s last major attack on one of its’ major cities.  So many innocent people died that day.  So many innocent people were injured that day.  So many innocent people remain ill and many are dying because of that day.  Our President elect during that time has been accused of mishandling the action taken to combat the evil that exists in the part of the world that attacked us. I am not among those who would know the truth about the reason he chose the action he did and I try not to judge others, instead choosing to believe in the good of all mankind.  Don’t get me wrong, I also see evil in the world and the people who are the epitamy of that evil.

Many people have chosen to see the attack and its aftermath as a devious plot on the American side.  They have chosen to blame America for its own attack. Some of these people are my friends, some are strangers to me. Well I don’t believe that conspiracy.  In my heart I know it was evil that attacked America that day.  I know that they chose the World Trade Center because it was the financial hub of the entire country.  We are a capitalist country and those who are evil, the ones who hate our way of life, chose that target with one idea to ruin our country economically.  They hoped to destroy us from within by destroying our financial pulse.  They knocked us down for a little bit as the following years showed, but they didn’t destroy us nor did they win in any sense of the word.  They didn’t think we had the committment to keep our country strong, but they were wrong.

Now I am surround by people who are hurting America from within.  They have been blinded either by fear and/or frustration. Once more, they blame America for their personal problems.  People are people and given the freedoms they have here to keep their own languages, to keep their own cultures, to keep their own religions they are managing to cause more problems instead of solving the ones we face everyday.  The fear and stubborness of so many Americans and the immigrants that live here are at the core of our current issues.  We are forgetting that we are ONE COUNTRY, ONE NATION.  If one part of us gets hurt we all get hurt, but if we don’t fix those hurts we will destroy the entire body.  There is so much more good than bad in America.  We are losing sight of that fact.  Everyone seems to have gotten the idea that one race is better than the other.  That one class of people is better than the other class of people.  That isn’t why America was founded.  That is so far from what America truly is.  Are we fallible? Yes! But only from our own citizens.  It is time to put away the hate.  It is time to get out of our own selfishness and realize that only UNITED we will face future attacks from evil beings.  That all the people who sacrificed in the past for us to have our freedoms believed it was to keep us UNITED.  “Biting the hand that feeds you” is detrimental to your own survival.   Americans should know this.
Too many since the beginning of our birth have sacrificed to get us through some of the worst times in history.  The point is we did get through.  The point is we should want to be better by now.  I believe with all my being that people who hate America and live in America should leave America.  Many of those whom shout the loudest about how awful we are as a country are the ones who have benefitted most from what this wonderful country has offered them.  They should really find somewhere else better suited to their ideals because if they all left we would probably have lots more room for the refugees who need a new country, who want a new country, who will become citizens who appreciate their new country as our ancestors did before us.

We are currently in the middle of a Presidential election year.  Before us are two people with very different ideas about the direction our country should take.  We have to elect one of them to be the face of us, to show their leadership of the greatest country in the world.  For me neither one has the qualifications to do this.  One is corrupt, the other acts like an idiot.  However, no matter what I personally think, one of them is definetely going to be elected.  All I can do is pray that the right one gets into office and proves their worth.  All I can do is hope they realize what a great country America truly is and how her people, her ideals, her future is worth every effort on their part to protect her.  These issues that are within our own borders  in today’s world are solvable issues.  The issues that face us outside our borders are far less likely to be solved.  Whatever the future holds, whatever fate has in store for us, we need to face it together united in the respect of our country, united in the responsibility we each have to make us worthy of being the beacon of light to all those who are persecuted throughout the world.  This can only be accomplished if we are united as Americans.  The families of the innocent people who died and were injured on September 11, 2001 deserve to know that they didn’t sacrifice for nothing.  We owe it to all those from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War who fought for America that we can keep their legacy alive and keep America beautiful. With this comes the responsibility to keep the evil and the haters out of American borders whether they come from the North, South, East or West.  Makes no difference if they hate America they shouldn’t live here.  We can only survive as a nation if we have pride in our country.  We can only survive as a people if we learn to live together as one people..American people.

So no I won’t apologize for loving this country.  I won’t apologize for loving all people of every race and every class.  I won’t apologize for loving the animals that roam the earth and the lands that provide us with beauty and survival.  I won’t apologize for believing as I do and for stating it for the world to see.  I won’t apologize because I have nothing to apologize for being an American.  If I have one thing to leave to my chldren and grandchildren I hope I leave them the pride I have in America and the belief that we are privileged to live here.

And that is the way I see it, here in Brooklyn.

K

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

 

 

 

 

It Takes A “Special” Man To Be A Dad!

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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

 

 

 

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