Sunday, June 21, 2009

Meus Abbas , Meus Vir

Relying on an online English to Latin translator, the title hopefully means, “My Father, My Hero”.
I don’t recall how much I’ve written about my dad here but if I repeat myself, it’s because he’s worth hearing about again. Giuseppe Daniele (I have no clue if he had a middle name) was born in Mola di Bari, Italy on September 16th, 1926; he passed away on March 30th, 1993 – way too soon and totally unexpectedly (at least by those of us who knew and loved him).
Dad grew up in Italy and served in the Italian Navy during World War II. After having had to serve his country under Mussolini’s influence and fascism, his political differences (and other factors) had him longing for a change, which eventually led him to the United States in 1955.
I know that when he first came to the U.S., he “jumped ship” (came here illegaly). I don’t know the particulars of how he met my mom but I do know that his uncle (Antonio Daniele) was living here and married to my mother’s older sister (Catherine DeBella). My parent’s were married on December 10th, 1955 and I know that my dad was sent back to Italy and then allowed to return. Unfortunately, I don’t know all the interested stuff that comes int he middle of all of that.
While achieving great success as a commercial fisherman and in local politics in his home town, dad had to start from scratch in the U.S. first having to overcome a language barrier. I know that he took a job sweeping floors for a while and put himself through English classes at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. I remember as a kid seeing the texts that he used – i wish I still had them.
Eventually, my dad climbed the ladder of success and in short time, became co-owner of a contract packaging outfit after working in the industry for a few years. Dad went on to startup two additional businesses before retiring in 1990 or 1991.
I always remember that my dad worked really hard to give us all a good home, stressed the importance of a good education and provided for one, and had the worst luck with cars getting stolen. dad was not one to fuck with however and was a physical disciplinarian. It seemed he knew how to do everything and anything – it was rare we ever had workmen come to the house, dad seemed to know how to fix it, patch it, build it, whatever. Somehow my older brother picked up on that and I – well I am good at calling people who know how to do stuff.
Anyway, I could go on for a long time – especially about going to buy fish end especially then for Christmas Eve. It was rare we went to a fish market but rather right to the docks purchasing freshly caught fish right from the men who caught it. I won’t go on though – I need to spend some time reflecting on my dad – by myself. I am glad I got to share a bit of him with all of you.
Rest in Piece Daddy!

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