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It’s Been 14 Years

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14 years ago today my Dad passed away. It was one day shy of my nephew, Ryan’s, 21st birthday and he was buried three days later on my birthday. I miss him as much today as I did the day he passed. 
 
The best way to describe my Dad is to say that he was a beautifully flawed human being. He was my hero. Not because he was perfect but because he faced his demons and overcame many challenges throughout his life.
 
The first challenge he overcame was weighing only 2 pounds when he was born in 1921. He was placed in a shoe box kept on the back of coal stove to keep him warm. Talk about a homemade incubator! He was the eldest of eight children and grew up during the Great Depression. He was drafted in 1942 and served in the 825th Tank Destroyer Unit of the Army during World War II. When he came back from the war in 1948 he was invited to workout with the Boston Braves. Baseball was his first love. He was signed to a Class C Baseball Contract by Billy Sullivan and was paid a whopping $175.00/month. (For those of you who are ardent baseball fans, he caught the famous 5 man starting pitching staff of the 1948 Champion Boston Braves; John Sain, Warren Span, Bill Voiselle,
Vern Bickford, and Red Barrett.) He worked in the airline business for several years before his job was abolished at which time he went to work at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Bridgewater, Massachusetts where he was the Recreation Officer in the convicted felon and drug addict unit until retiring in 1984. After retiring from the Corrections Department he worked part-time as the Coordinator of the Senior Center at Massasoit Community College. He suffered from coronary artery disease. Had a triple by-pass in 1985 and died from lung cancer at the age of 81.
 
He was a loving husband, father of 5, grandfather of 12, son, brother, cousin, uncle, and friend to many. Unfortunately he passed before meeting his beautiful great grandchildren but they will know him from the stories our family shares about him.
  
What I love most about my father was that he showed up as himself each and every day. He was headstrong, opinionated, fiercely loyal, friendly, a great singer, and most importantly, he was a good man. He made friends everywhere he went. He was a great story teller and no matter how often you heard his stories or jokes, you listened and laughed, every time. I inherited many of the qualities that admired in him and I am eternally grateful for that and all the lessons he taught me. I, and those who knew him, are better people for having known him.
  

I think of my Dad, hell, I talk to him most every day. Knowing he’s an angel watching over me and my family gives me a sense of comfort. Although it’s been 14 years, I still reach for the phone to call him when I want advice and especially when the world doesn’t make sense to me. It’s funny, no matter how old you are, there are times when you just want your Dad to tell you ‘it’s all going to be OK.’

I don’t remember exactly when he gave me this poem but I look at it when I need a reminder of what and who is important. Integrity and honesty are 2 of my core values which is why this poem speaks so loudly to me. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too.

 

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for wealth

And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,

Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest.
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years.
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934
1895-1954

4 comments

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  1. Joe Monaco

    Beautiful and heart felt

    1. marthamonaco.com

      Thanks Joe!

  2. Beverly

    This is beautiful, Martha. Thank you for sharing your father’s life with us. Much love! ~ BB

    1. marthamonaco.com

      Thanks Beverly!

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