That’s my dad with his parents just before he was sent overseas to the Philippines during WWII. He was a first generation Italian—his brother — my Uncle Conrad, was in the Armed Forces in Italy during WWII. When Grandpa first came to America as a young boy, he sold ice cream plying people with his hurdy gurdy and a real monkey. My grandma took in washing and sold vegetables when they were in season. Later my grandpa worked in a factory and retired with a gold watch. My dad weighed 116 pounds when this photo was taken—the boat to the Philippines took 30 pounds off of him. His sergeant called him “Wop”—Dad’s officer had no use for Italians.
I recall all these anecdotes because I wonder how they would be treated today. They were dark, swarthy— spoke broken English. I am certain today my dad as a veteran wouldn’t have the same opportunities. My dad went to college on the GI Bill — graduated from the University of Michigan—the first person in his family to have a college degree. He eventually owned several businesses, volunteered in his community and was president of Rotary twice. He was a generous and colorful man—a good father who spoiled all ten of us.
I find it sad and despicable that our men and women who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan are faced with so many problems—the PTSD, the lack of jobs, the lack of support in getting disability. It is disrespect at its worst that these men and women, who sacrificed so much, are receiving so little from our country. On behalf of everyone from the magazine, please accept our gratitude and thanks for all you have done.
And last but not least, Happy Father’s Day, Papa—we all miss you—and Happy Father’s Day to all men who give of themselves to others.
We have some special stories for you this month—Tanya Cabala is a gifted environmentalist who has a unique gift of being able to discuss issues with those of the opposite view and still maintain civility—a disappearing art. And what better way to feature her than in front of the beloved lighthouse in Whitehall, where she has lived all her life.
Gaby Saenz,16, shares a poem she wrote not long after her father died. It is raw and poignant.
Many of you female readers who are battling cancer or are survivors—I know there are many—may want to think about a “Reeling and Healing” weekend—a time to rejuvenate and meet other courageous women.
And for those who will always love rock and roll and rhythm and blues—a must see concert is coming up Friday July 5 in Manistee at First Street Beach—a fundraiser for Manistee’s North Point Pier.
Susan Harrison Wolffis, Tim Wheeler’s Obstructed View, Ask Annie, recipes and more await your reading. Enjoy!
From my heart to yours