|Oh yeah, that’s me with my Dad, probably about 4 years old. How adorable was I and how freakin’ handsome was he?|
My dad was so handsome when I was growing up. He was very tall and skinny with jet black hair. When I was a little girl, I idolized him, he was my hero. My mom and I had a contentious relationship, fraught with a lot of tension and my dad helped me out by defending me from my moms wrath.
Here’s a picture of us in front of the cherry trees in Warinanco Park in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where we lived until I was about 6. My parents used to take the 4 of us there each spring and take pictures in front of the cherry blossoms as they bloomed. We’d wear our best Sunday dresses (all sewn by my mother who was an amazing seamstress) with black patent leather shoes.
When I was young, my dad seemed so tall – like a giant. He was about 6′ 1″ and when we were little, he’d let us stand on his hand and he’d lift us up so we could touch the ceiling. I remember thinking he was so tall and so strong.
|Left to right: Sue, Mary-Kate, Me, Eddie in MK’s arms|
I have 2 older sisters and a younger brother. It was always “the girls and Eddie.” My dad was a very involved father, for that era. He would give us baths and brush our hair afterwards. We all had that crazy, wavy hair that you can see in the picture above, so brushing out our curly hair was quite a process. For some reason, he and my mom always brushed our hair 100 times; he said you had to do it that way – it was good for your hair. I remember sitting in the chair in the family room, watching the Ed Sullivan show and waiting my turn for my 100 brushes, after he was done with Sue and Mary-Kate’s hair. The room would be all steamy and warm from the baths we’d just had, and my mother would be ironing my dads shirts while he brushed our hair.
Then we’d watch whatever crazy act was on Ed Sullivan that night. Remember how they used to have whole shows with nutty acts like Jose Jimenez & Topo Gigo and the spinning plates (with the Tarantella music)? How funny to think that we used to watch that show every single Sunday night. It was our favorite. I remember watching The Beatles in their US debut. There were only 7 channels, that I recall – 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. And we had to get up to change the channels manually, and the TV was black & white. It seems like another world to me, now.
Back in those days, everybody smoked, and my dad and mom were no exception. He smoked Chesterfield’s. I’m pretty sure they were the unfiltered ones. My mom smoked menthols, can’t remember the brand. Yuck. They stopped in their late 40’s when everyone started to realize how bad smoking was for you. I can still picture them smoking their cigarettes, which is so odd, if you knew my parents. They were both teetotalers, very healthy and very concerned about eating well, so the thought of them smoking is just so odd, but that’s what they all did in the 60’s and 70’s.
Now my dad is 87 and my mom passed away 2 years ago, so he’s pretty lonely. They were married over 50 years. It’s unfathomable to me that they could have been together that long. He still has a full head of hair, but now it’s perfectly white. He’s still 6′ 1″ but not quite as skinny. He had bypass heart surgery last year (all those Camels) and it was kind of touch and go there for a while, but he’s made of good, strong German stock (as he and my mother would say) and is doing okay.
Happy Father’s Day, Tony. Hope you’re having a good one.