On this Father’s Day 2015, my other half Leilani and the 3 freeloading cats wished me a happy Father’s Day. Not that technically I could fall into that category because, even though I DO have children, (not counting the 3 cats) my actual children disowned me eons ago.
Why? To put it bluntly….Who The F knows. I could venture a guess. Like I was dumb and stupid when I was younger and married to their mother. And eventually divorced. Which, I guess condemns anyone who gets divorced and has kids to a life of exile and estrangement from their children. Makes sense to me.
Anyhow, water under the dam or….DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The ironic part of all this is that my own dad and I never met until I was 19 years old. This due to the fact that my mother and my dad were divorced BEFORE I was born. AND, I was raised by my grandmother and two spinster aunts until I entered the service at 17.
When I was discharged, I returned home and continued to live with my grandmother. One day the phone rang, I answered it, which is what ya normally do when the phone rings, and the voice on the other end said that he was one of my Army buddies and wanted to meet me for a coffee.
I drove to our meeting place, a Howard Johnsons restaurant, and had no idea who I was looking for as he never told me his name. Just that we had served together.
Walked into the HJ and strolled around until this guy walks up to me and introduces himself.
“Hi, I’m your dad.”
No, I did not burst into uncontrollable emotion because I had none. How can ya feel any emotion for someone you’ve never met or barely heard anything about. It was forbidden conversation in our household.
Anyhow, that was the first time I met my father. We talked, mostly small stuff as neither one of us felt comfortable. And as I recall, it was cordial and really not very enlightening. No family deep dark secrets revealed and he did not appear to be an axe murderer or a bad kinda guy at all. But, that was my impression. Not knowing the past as to why my mother and my father divorced I really couldn’t make a judgement. Nor, as I stated, really feel any emotion.
It’s not like he was around when I was growing up and then left. All I ever knew when it came to having a family was my grandmother, two aunts and an occasional visit from my mother.
Considering my upbringing, I don’t think I turned out too bad. Other than getting divorced twice myself, and writing this inane blog.
But getting back to my father. Throughout the years from that first meeting until he passed away at the age of 60, I can count on two hands the number of times we met.
A few months later he magically appeared once again and took me to lunch at an Italian restaurant on what is known as the “Federal Hill” section of Providence, R.I. I ordered my favorite, spaghetti and meatballs, he a sandwich, and we waited to be served.
The phone rings in the restaurant, the owner calls my father and says the call is for him. He takes the call, comes back to the table just as my dinner is being served, and says, “Ok, we gotta go!”
“But dad, I just got my dinner!” I sez.
“Um…..forget it…we really gotta go.”
No explanation given. So we left.
Later that day as I’m getting prepared to do my paper route I happen to see the headline sprawled across the newspaper.
“Italian Restaurant Shot Up In Drive By.”
In the early 60’s he popped up one day at our house. At that time my car had bitten the dust and I was trying to get a loan to buy another car.
Soooooo. My dad and I take a ride and he sez to me, as we stop, in front of a car dealership, “Ok, pick out what car ya want kid.”
“But dad, where am I gonna get the money to buy a new car?”
“Look kid, this is how we do it. We take whatever car ya want for a test drive. While we’re out driving it we stop and have a set of keys made from the car. Then we take the car back, say we’re not interested, and leave. Then I got some connections in the DMV, I’ll get the vin number from the car, make up a bill of sale, get it registered, and the we go back to that dealership in the dead of night with the keys and the plates and, Shazam! drive off.”
So we parted and I did not see him again until…………
Until the late 60’s when he magically appeared on election night at a hotel where I was on the staff of a TV station and my job was to shag politicians for TV interviews. I had all kinds of identification on me to get to those off-limits to normal people floors where the candidates were. So who do I run into hob nobbing with a prominent U.S. Senator. Yep, my father. With no ID’s on him Go figure.
Anyhow, we spoke for three or four minutes and that was it. Never saw him again until…….
Until the late 70’s when he called me and said he was managing a pizza place and we should come on down.
(note…..how the hell he always knew where I was has always been a mystery to me)
Soooooo. We went to the pizza place. Had pizza, conversed, and said we’d meet at the end of the week right there.
Sooooooo, basically that was how I remember my father. Popping in and out of my life.
The very last time I saw him was at his funeral. It was there that all sorts of guys in heavy black overcoats with poodle type collars and black fedoras arriving in spiffy black expensive cars made up most of those paying their last respects.
I remember one guy saying to me in the smoking room downstairs, “Hey, you kinda look like Giovanni. Youse his kid?”
I replied that I was and he patted me on the head offering his condolences.
I think, after all those years and a lot….really….a lot of strange characters and pop ins, and strange places I met my dad, that he may have been…um…..shall we say………connected. And I’m NOT talking about electricity.
So that’s how I remember my father on this Father’s Day. Not too many memories other than the ones I mentioned.
I did at one time consider writing a book about him but kept running into dead ends. Like the time I had one of his Missouri license plates, sent for an address connected to that license plate, and received a letter from the DMV that no such address existed. In fact, the Missouri town informed me that the address was a vacant lot.
Not one to give up easily, I placed an ad in a “Yankee Magazine” asking for any information on my father listing his name and that he was born in Providence, R.I.
But………I soon gave up that project when I got a phone call from some gravelly voiced guy telling me to leave it alone or else.
I ain’t stoopid ya know. I gave it up.
But, at least, for sure, I know when I go there, he’s ALWAYS gonna be there…..and not disappear like he used to.
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