In our family, May 5th is a special day.
No, it's not Cinco de Mayo.
It's the day my Dad's family came to the United States from Italy.
On 5-5-1955, they arrived in New York from San Fili, Italy.
This is San Fili; although the picture was taken about 50 years later.
This was their passport photo. My Grandma didn't get her own. She had one with all the kids. That's my Dad on the bottom left. The one who looks like a baby Spock.
It took 2 weeks to cross the Atlantic. Here's a picture from a dinner.
And here's their paperwork.
It cost $820 in 1955 for all 6 of them to come here. That must have seemed like a small fortune. My Dad was the oldest child, only 9 years old and didn't speak any English.
But, he learned quickly, as my Dad does with everything. He joined the army, met my Mom, had some kids and worked his butt off in construction and elevators. At one point, in the late 60's, he had a wife, my sister and a quarter to his name. 25 cents...that's it. From that, he worked and eventually bought a Dunkin Donuts and eventually a Texaco. At 13, I went to work with him. I made donuts and helped customers and scrubbed the toilet when it needed it. He taught me how to work hard and take pride in your job, and for that, I'll always be grateful. He's the smartest man I know and ever will know.
He sold his dream home this week. The one he dreamed of building for over 30 years, and then actually built. It was over 4,000 square feet and a beauty. Seriously, this picture looks fake. But, he planted all those trees and landscaped and designed everything in this home. Him and Suzy picked out the roof color and the carpet and made a little path through the rocks for water to flow when it rained.
They downsized to a home in a retirement community that will keep them active and having fun for years to come. They still have their cabin in Idaho that they'll go to for the summers. I know my Dad was sad when he drove away from that home for the last time. He closed the door on his dream home, and turned the key on the end of an era. An era where he worked hard his entire life and finally built the big mansion in the desert.
Now, it's time to relax, golf four days a week if you want and go bowling at the clubhouse.
Enjoy Dad, you've earned it.
Love you Pops.