exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london


by Jen at 9:59 pm on 13.06.2010 | 1 Comment
filed under: mundane mayhem

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    Comment by daddio

    15.06.2010 @ 04:13 am

    when you sent the other pics and said you would like to go there, you didn’t tell me you WERE going there. beautifully written! couple of fill in the blanks…you great grandfather was a u.s. citizen and living here when poppi arrived. skip ellis island, go directly to go and collect $200. however, the story is even better. the ship he arrived in, alone at age 13, was brought into port (NYC) by the tugboat his father worked on as a deckhand. they were united when another crewmember on the tug found him. his sister was sick and not allowed to board ship so his mother had to stay with her in italy and return home, sending poppi off by himself. his father didn’t think much of education and my dad didn’t go to school very long (age 16) before he went to work helping to deliver milk early in the morning, running up tenament buildings. he always resented this and knew he was smart, but never able to prove it academically . as a kid, i used this insecurity to hurt him when we did battle.
    not too sure about the early years, but joined the army and fought in europe in the red diamond division. nothing he ever talked about except for the guy shot in the ass taking a crap. he was a army cook. but i am pretty sure he was involved in the battle of the arden forest at the battle of the bulge. i know he was involved in fighting…being the cookie didn’t give you a pass, necessarily. he was going to go to the pacific after 4 years of fighting, but the war ended before the transfer. many of the men he knew during that time had been killed.
    he became a mailman, but for some reason wanted to be a cop. he was very disciplined training to meet the physical requirements, going to delaney’s gym. he was very proud of how well he did, beating out the younger guys. he was very insecure, being made fun of for his english by other cops. this, however, didn’t exactly inspire him to speak better english…he always would pronounce words or phrases in a strange way. when he studied for sargent and then leutenant he was focused and single minded…putting in hrs each night studying…even while holding another job or two cleaning the office behind the house or the gas station a couple of miles away. always eager to pick up a buck to raise 6 kids. however, we all suffered from his exhaustion, changes in work shifts, having more wine than was he should to stay awake and his depression which was genetic passed along from his mother, who was hospitalized for it on more than one occasion. his father was a tough nut and was probably depressed too.
    yes, he loved the sea and would talk about fishing on the island. however, like me, he really was not a very good sailor…many a close call and a fair amount of screaming.
    he had a tough life, and he had many flaws. he broke a paddle over my butt and once hit me with the handle of a hammer…after breaking down the door to his bedroom where i had taken refuge. i’m not so sure how much insight he ever had about his actions, but if there was any, it wasn’t much.
    when he loved you, it was from deep in the heart, always with tears and a comment to put you down so that there was always feeling of ambivalence about what just happened. his father, he told me, always put him down and berated him…but he also gave him his life savings to help him buy a house on staten island. but in the end, he knew that his father was proud of him. our ambivalence relationship lasted up until his last conscious moment. he didn’t want me to know that he was having surgery and we had been estranged for at least 6 months. when i saw him after his stroke following the surgery, when he saw me, tears welled up in his eyes and rolled down his cheek ..well, actually we both cried. it was only for a minute or two that he remained conscious for the last time. i care for him in the icu for the next couple of days along with my sisters before he died. my only regret was that we didn’t think to bring in music from puccini, which he loved more than he loved anything.
    yes, in many ways, i am like him and in those same ways, you are like me. congratulations and at the same time, sorry about that.

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