|CHAPTER 2 I FINISH MY TEENS (1951-1955) (cont)|
than 100 pounds because he
had gotten to the point where he could not retain solid foods. While
home, he would often wake me in the middle of the night to get him
something to drink. While he was hospitalized, I would take an older
friend, (I did not yet have my drivers license) with me to drop off my
mother at the hospital, stop and say hello, then hang out with the
friend until I picked her up later. He was hospitalized for what would
be the last time in late September 1955. On the night of October
6th, things had deteriorated to the point that my mother decided to
remain with Dad overnight. My instructions, however, were to get
up the next morning, Friday Oct 7th.
and go to work as usual. Unfortunately, shortly after
7a.m. I received a call from the hospital that my mother wanted me
there. Although the hospital's language was perhaps chosen to
protect me, I guess I knew what had happened. Remember, I had
not yet gotten my drivers license. As I got behind the wheel I
decided that anyone who stopped me would have to deal with the
explanation of what was happening. I remember as I drove
wondering why other drivers were on the road and where were they
going? After all. I had lost my Dad.
I picked my mother up at the hospital and shortly after our arrival home we were joined by one or more of Dad's associates who rallied support. To spare my mother further anxiety, I went into Fairport with my mother and one of them to choose a proper casket at the funeral home.
Arrangements were made for visitation on both Saturday and Sunday. With the help of my uncle Raymond, I managed to get through it. He dragged me away to a local Fairport restaurant and tried unsuccessfully to get my mother to eat something. I basically sleepwalked through the weekend. The funeral was Monday at the Church of the Assumption in Fairport. Dad had become a Catholic and he and mother had been married there with me as Best Man. It was not until the limo ride back from the cemetery that I woke from my sleepwalking, and the realization of what had happened hit home.
I often wonder how life might have been different if this had not happened. I remember I was 19, working at the bank and playing on the bank softball team. I've never been a good player but one night I managed to single home the winning run as we beat the bank for which my mother worked. I went running home all excited about my feat. However, she was not interested. Although hurt at the time, I realized that she had enough to worry about having been left with three kids (two of whom were still in High School). Later, I would realize that when Dad died she did also, although we would not lay her to rest until July 2003.