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The Journey to the Woman I am Today.............Part II
"I'm a big girl now......."
My parents were both Catholic. My paternal grandparents, as a matter of fact were Orthodox Catholics directly from Austria, where they had fled with their families, to escape the insanity of a big bad man named "Adolf," who thought the Ukraine needed some cleansing.
The only Catholic Church was walking distance from our home at the corner of our street, We lived in a Catholic neighborhood, in a Catholic home, went to the Catholic School next to this church.......and I'm pretty sure our mother drove a Catholic car.
I was 5 years old and off to Kindergarten, away from the comfort and safety of my home, without a parent, for the first time. There was no such animal as a Nursery School in the 50's. As my mother liked to put it years later when Pat and I had children, "Nursery schools? Oh my God, when we were raising our kids, we didn't dump them with strangers." Pat and I would cringe at that statement, but knew it was the truth.
Kindergarten was also the first time I laid eyes on a Nun ( a little spooky music in the back ground please?) They were all called, "Sister Something," except my Dad called them "penguins," much to my mother's objection.
Yep, that was classic Dad. I could probably sum up my father in a sentence or two, but he deserves more......so buckle up.
My Dad's Better than your Dad.....
I have been racking my brain for the past two or three days, trying to come up with something that my Dad couldn't do. The simple, age-old title of "Jack of all Trades," doesn't even brush the surface.
Now you're thinking, "Oh, c'mon, here's a girl bragging about her father, like this is uncommon or special." BORING..zzzzzz.
You're entitled to feel this way. It's OK, really. But I'm still going to elaborate a bit. Just hang in here with me, please. I want you to know my Dad.
Loyal to one company, the majority of his employment history, my Dad, a.k.a. "Eddie," was a machinist... welder, to be specific, in a shop that manufactured parts for rockets, under government contract. This shop was a15-minute walk from home and that's what he did....he walked to and from work, every day, lunch bucket in hand.
To tell the truth, in our small village, it didn't matter where you were going. It was within walking distance. The longest trek, from one far side of town to the other side, might take about an hour. I said it was small, didn't I?
Eddie had talents and hobbies to-beat-the-band.....and speaking of..... A professional musician, he was a member of the Marine Corps Band while serving in the military. He was the Marine Base P.T. Instructor to his fellow Marines, as well.
In his civilian life, he played in a combo at various Clubs in the city. As the story goes, I think it was one night at a Dance Club, my Mom and Dad experienced their "Enchanted Evening....across a crowded room."
The best part for my sister and I was that he kept his talent and his prized sax in perfect tune, by practicing at home, a couple of evenings a week. We did our homework with live background music. Well OK, my sister the genius, did her homework. I had better things to do. Don't ask.
As we state at Brat's Anonymous..."Hello, my name is Paula, and I am a Brat. I've been pissing my parents off for years now.........."
The beautiful music of the Sax
More laughter than we could stand
When Daddy was not working, tinkering around the house with repairs or building something, he would watch TV or go fishing. You see, from day one, both of our parents worked.....Daddy, on day shift and Mom at night. My mother's brother and sister owned the most popular restaurant in the county and my mother ( the whole family, actually) worked there forever.
Working mothers back then, were very rare birds. Friend's of ours would wrinkle their noses and say, "Your Mom works?!" On the other hand, Pat and I had no clue most other Moms didn't.
This is just the way they did things. Our home never saw a babysitter, a repairman or neighbors sitting around chatting. Work and school and church and family. We were the family of Worker Bees. Trust me when I tell you that Mom was the Queen Bee.
Our Dad could be described as pensive, soft-spoken and even-tempered, the majority of the time. However, at all times, he was funny....funny as hell. Everything he said and did, included a dose of humor. It's a damned good thing that we humans are not granted only a specific amount of time and energy to use on laughter in one lifetime. We'd have hit the max at a very young age.
Eddie proudly walked my sister down the aisle, in 1964. It was my turn next, to take that walk with him in 1967.
By 1972, Pat had three children and I had two. One granddaughter and four grandsons, who were the absolute light of our father's life. He was a super-duper, hands-on Grandpa. He built them wagons and taught them to fish and do hand stands. He'd get right in there with them, looking like just another kid, but much bigger. The fun and giggles...love and laughter was non-stop for Grandpa and the little lights of his life.....
Until one day that year of 1972. Early, on the morning of August 4th,....Suddenly, the lights went out and the laughter ceased..... forever. In the blink of an eye,he was gone....only 56 years old.
In this cold, pitch darkness......the silence was deafening.
Thank you for reading Part II of my story. In case you did not read Part I and would like to:
And now......Part III link below
- The Journey to the Woman I am Today............Part III
Part II of my story, as you may recall, closed sadly, with the sudden and untimely death of my precious father, in August of 1972. I must ask that you bear with me, as I digress, in an effort to expose portions of my life to you that I need for...