He Was Always My Daddy

God helped me see how much my father loved me.

He Was Always My Daddy

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My father and I did not have a perfect relationship or even good communication. I can’t attribute that to his thick Italian accent, since he spoke fluent English. “Daddy” (as I called him even in my adult years) was a hard worker, a good provider, a lover of fishing, music, and whistling; he respected God and his Catholic faith and was an honest businessman and a responsible family man.

Yet something vital was missing. I cannot remember ever knowing the joy and closeness of jumping onto my father’s lap and snuggling with him, as I saw in other families. And when my siblings and I became teenagers, he turned very tough and verbally negative. Mommy filled in the gaps, as she was openly loving, approving, and encouraging.

Heavy Hearts. An Italian immigrant with a sixth-grade education, Daddy had built up a very successful commercial fishing business. Every day he rose early to fish in the Atlantic waters off Freeport, Long Island, New York, our hometown. I’d hear him whistling in the kitchen as he got ready, but those were the only times he seemed lighthearted. After a hard day’s work, he came home tired, grumbling, and seemingly unhappy. Dinnertimes were strained, with us kids worrying that he might…

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