|My father, me, and my cousin Robert at my sister's wedding in 2001.|
Those who read my blog and follow me on social media have heard me talk numerous times about how my mother has always supported my in my writing, about how she bought me my first modern horror novel, and how she read and encouraged my craft when I was a kid even though what I wrote at that time wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Rarely have I mentioned my father in relation to my writing, which is an oversight because my father was always the quiet enabler who fed my Monster Kid habit.
Every Saturday, me, my dad, and my grandfather would go for an early morning breakfast in Saugus (my father loved his Saturday morning breakfasts almost as much as he did his family and the Marine Corps). Afterwards, we would hit Cal's News on Central Avenue in Lynn in search of the latest edition of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Eerie or Creepy, or The Godzilla Times. Our next stop would be Don Elder's in Chelsea to pick up the newest release of Castle Film's 8mm renditions of classic Sci-Fi and horror movies followed by the hobby shop in Malden Square to see what they had in the way of monster models from Aurora. Even though it took hours out of his day off, he never once complained. I can't even count the hours he spent sitting in movie theaters and drive-ins with me watching God-awful monster movies for the sole reason that watching them made me happy (except for Godzilla vs. Megalon which we both agreed was a complete waste of time).
While my father was being a good dad he was also being an excellent mentor. I owe much of what I am today to the values he taught me as a kid. He instilled in me a devotion to duty, honor, country, which inspired me the serve with the CIA. He fostered a sense of justice and for doing what is right no matter the cost or the difficulty, a trait that has me constantly butting heads with management and bureaucracies. He taught me to love and respect women, to treat them with the dignity they deserve, and to find the one who would bring out the best in me. Most important, he taught me how to laugh, especially at myself, and to embrace life and enjoy it to the fullest, and not take things too seriously.
A friend sent me a condolence card the other day stating that although they had never met my father, they know he must be a remarkable man because of the good children he raised. My father was a remarkable man, which was attested to by the fact that even the family and friends of those closest to him came to the wake and funeral to pay their respects. I've always tried to live my life in such a manner that he would be proud of me. Sadly, however, I've forgotten how to laugh and live life to its fullest these past five years and have allowed the negatives to get the better of me and drain me of that vitality my father taught me to enjoy.
As a tribute to my father and to honor his memory, I've sworn that I'm going to embrace life again and make the most of it.