It's Father's Day and I'm feeling the way I often feel on this day.
My father was born in Dubrovnik in 1926 and the family immigrated to New York City not long after. Actually, my grandfather had opened a candy store in the Hell's Kitchen prior to their arrival. The candy store fronted a pool hall and I remember my mother telling me that my father would work the streets as a shill for his father. I can picture 1930's New York and my father luring men off the streets for a bit of wagering and the hopes of making a few dollars during the height of the depression.
Eventually my father went to work for TWA and became the lead reservation agent for the main office in Manhattan. My grandfather was so proud.
My father died two days before Christmas in 1961. I was 6 years old. My brother was 8. My mother was only 32 years old. For many years I relied on the memories of other family members to learn about my father. They helped fill in all the gaps and helped to "flesh out" the man we missed so much. Daddy had moved to another country, learned a new language and had a happy life there.
In 1964, my mother went on a blind date with a widower 10 years her senior who had a 16 year old daughter. Three months later they were married. I had a very difficult time adjusting to the new man in my mother's life. I gave him a hard time...I pushed him away both emotionally and physically. He was a great opponent.
Pop would eventually become as influential in my life as my mother was. He was the voice of reason, never raising his voice, always treating us and our friends as intelligent, thinking adults (even when we weren't). He was the one our friends would turn to when their own fathers didn't get it. He adopted my brother and I when we where in high school.
I remember him sitting on the steps in front of our house in New Jersey as I drove off to Washington State with my new husband. It was 1977. I was only 22 years old leaving to parts unknown, 3,000 miles away to start a new life. He had his arm around my mother and had a smile on his face.
It makes me happy to know that he would be just as thrilled for me as I leave one day to make my new life in Merida.
I've been blessed so many times in my life and having two fathers is a blessing I cherish today...and every day.