My dad… ex-marine… known as the “Meanest Man in Metuchen.” Ha, ha. My father was scheduled to go to Korea but, instead of taking extra money to join the reserves, he decided to make extra money to work at the Ford plant and Hess Oil. The whole battalion he would have been in was nearly wiped out. It set up a hatred and distrust for communism that he took to his grave. So you can imagine what it was like telling my dad that I wasn’t going to go to Vietnam… it was a bad war. I gotta go to Toronto. Can you imagine the fights? But he always kissed me goodnight on the lips and he made me kiss him on the lips goodnight.
My dad taught me about sports. He was my little league coach. He taught me how to be a catcher. We won the Ford’s Little League Championship in 1964. He came to all my high school football games. He was a street guy. Self educated. Put himself through school and became an engineer. He’d say things like, “Nothing will bring down a good man faster than a bad woman.” And, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”
He always went to work until the time when he died. We disagreed on a lot of issues. There were large periods of time that we didn’t talk. And as I’m 50 now, I realize my dad wasn’t such a dumb guy. It reminds me of that Mark Twain line (I’m paraphrasing here)… “When I was 18, my dad was an idiot. When I turned 21, I couldn’t believe how smart he got in three years.”