Saturday, July 26, 2014

October 30, 2000 - A Poem to My Mother

This is where I'll begin - with a poem from my father to my mother.

Let's look at the things we've done
We went and had our "number one"
A short time later "David fair"
Who didn't quite have "Papa's" hair
We came and settled on our hill
Where by the way we're living still
How great these early years have been
The things we've done and loved and seen
Our times at Basel's were the best
It put our stamina to the test
From years of laughter and of joy
To an ocean cruise and ship ahoy
My years with you have been quite good
Far far better than I knew they would
One of the things that can hold true
Is that you love me and I love you
Thank you Giulie for a wonderful life
For being my friend, for being my wife

Commentary: The "number one" mentioned in line two is my other brother, Albie.  He was born in late February, 1961 and I followed "a short time later" in early October, 1963.  My mother was one of four sisters and their father had (or so I am told) red hair.  So whenever the sisters would get together if they detected any sort of ginger glint in any of the cousins' hair, it was immediately pronounced "Papa's hair!"  By the time I knew him his hair was white so I had to take their word on it.

I grew up in a very nice house in Southern Connecticut.  It was warm and wonderful but unfortunately it was built into a notch carved out of a moderately steep hill.  Its driveway curved upwards from the street to the house.  Not much of a big deal for most of the year but during the New England winters, when there's snow and/or ice and/or sleet followed quickly sometimes by a sunlit deep freeze, the driveway seemed to get longer the deeper the snow and/or ice and/or sleet that fell upon it.  We sold the house a year or so ago and someone else lives there now.  I wish them well with their warm and wonderful house on the steepish (and sometimes snowy) hill.

Basel's was a Greek Restaurant in New Haven.  It closed in the mid-80s and became, for a short time, a Japanese restaurant but now it's now a Subway sandwich shop.  When I was, I think, in 5th grade my parents discovered the place and then spent every Friday and Saturday night there for the next 2 decades or so.  There was Greek music and Greek dancing every weekend and they were regulars and they loved it.  After Basel's closed, they'd plan their summers around the Greek festivals in Connecticut, hoping to enjoy again the moussaka and the misirlou, the spanakopita and the tsamiko.