Remembering my Dad

Please be aware that this post contains mentions of things that may be triggering for some (death, violence and alcoholism). Please proceed at your own discretion.

In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, were assassinated in Bosnia, which led to WW1. Late in 1918 Armistice was signed with Germany and the war essentially ended. World War One officially ended with – The Treaty of Versailles, in 1919.
(10th grade world history, Ellicottville Central School).

My dad was the 3rd of the 3 children born to his parents, in 1917.
The 1st had died in 1914 from a ‘birth injury’ involving instruments. No real recourse then, just oops, we may have killed your baby, you can take him home now. He lived 10 days.

The 2nd was born in 1915 and suffered with asthma all of his life.

I was asked today, “Who taught him to be a good person?”

He and Uncle were raised by the neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. where they lived. To me, it sounded like, it took a village to raise the children. At the time, each neighborhood was just that, a village. Then the neighborhoods were divided into ethnic areas. Negro, Italian, Polish, German, Jewish, Irish, etc. had . So he was raised poor shanty Irish

Mostly, grandpa wasn’t there. But in order to clarify, I need to go back to to before Daddy was born. His mother left, just left after his birth. It seems she couldn’t handle a sickly child, a handicapped husband and a new baby. I never knew her, she died in 1980.
My Grandpa helped build the Empire state building until one night, he was mugged, robbed & left in the street to die. He had a fractured skull and was left with bad balance. He could no longer do his job so he was fired. They weren’t being mean but they needed men that could do the job. So many were jobless, & homeless.

He took a job as a bar tender, after Hattie left. (We never called her Grandma). Wounded and in pain, half the time forgetting about his boys. To drink himself deeper and deeper into alcoholism.
Dad once said, sometimes Pop left change on the fireplace mantel for us to eat, other times, we just tightened our belts. I can feel bad about it but it was what it was. Other children suffered harder lives.
It was a time of organized crime, drive-by shootings and very soon prohibition (1920-1633).
Crime bosses like Salvatore Maranzano and Lucky Luciano were household names. Dutch Schultz was part of the criminals who terrorized the streets.
When Dad was in 8th grade (he was 12-13)my Uncle, who was a big kid,
signed him out of the Catholic school he was attending and that ended his formal education.
In his mid to late teens, apparently he saw something that left him a target of the Mafia. So Grandpa sent him to a western NY farm, to his sister in law. It was one of the worst and the best experiences of his life.
The hardened country farmers teased him without mercy and gave him some truly nasty jobs
I’ll continue this another time, I’m tired and headed to bed.
Sweet Dreams
Garnet

6 Likes

Your dad had a tough upbringing, Garnet- goodness, it is really emotional to look back and see the situation that some people had to grow up back in the day. He sounds like a strong man who overcame many challenges and hardships before bringing his daughter into the world.

Thank you for sharing this humbling story :pray::heart: Get some good rest, Garnet!

5 Likes