Saturday, November 14, 2009

You Gotta Be A Good Fighter To Make It 88 Rounds

Today is my step-father Frank's 88th Birthday. Eighty-Eight! You've gotta have a whole lotta fight in you to make it through eighty-eight years of life! Imagine all he's seen?? And done! I was just telling Eddie this morning that he has fifty-four years to go before gets to Frank's age. He better tread lightly if he plans to make it that far! As you read a few days ago, I posted a bit about his service in World War II. I've also written about his restaurant The Dodge Inn, and all the famous people he served there. The pictures in this post are from that time. Above you'll see Frank with Trainer Al Silvani (picture is mislabeled as Joe Silvani) on the left, and the Heavyweight Champion of The World Rocky Marciano, in the middle. It was taken at the restaurant back in the early fifties, just before Rocky was getting ready for an upcoming match. I guess he thought a good meal of steak and potatoes would keep him nourished to get a few more world titles! 

In the picture below is boxer Rocky Graziano, considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, posing with Frank's sister-in-laws, Rosie and Babe. There was never a day where at least one family member wasn't hanging around (or working at) the restaurant; the best part was being lucky enough to be there when a celebrity came in! Although all close in age, all of the people in these photos are long gone. But not Frank. I marvel at his desire to keep plodding through the daily grind of life. Sometimes when I think about how much I don't want to do something, or how I think I don't have the energy to drive one more mile or hike one more hill (OK, not that I'm an avid hiker or anything...I'm just using that as an example of well, exercise-y type things), I think of Frank. He's survived war, a life of hard work, quadruple bypass surgery, cancer, the passing of friends and loved ones, the loss of three of his five siblings (he is the oldest), and the presidency of George W. Bush. I really have nothing that compares to that....well, except I also made it through the Bush years.

But war? Hard work? Medical issues? So far, none of those have touched my life. I should really stop bitching about everything. But that's my nature; it's just not his. His ability to forge through all of those things has probably only made him stronger. And more determined to see one hundred. He always says that's his goal. As I've said before, with his curmudgeony ways, it will probably be more of a challenge for us than for him, but I'm sure he'll hit his 100th birthday with ease. He's a tough cookie for sure, and I know there is so much more to learn from him than I already have. I only have one question for him right now. You grew up in the Bronx...where the hell did you get that pony??
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Working In Paradise Friday
86 Going On 8 3
A Fine Cargo Of Experiences And Memories


all things bradbury said...

this, and all the archives from his birthday are and your family are so fortunate to have this man in your lives....wish him happy birthday for us!

Gil said...
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Gil said...

Happy Birthday to your step Dad!

I'm sure that he is staying around to keep an eye on you and to enjoy your Mother and nephews! I remember seeing people riding horses on Pelham Pkwy right around where your turn to go to City Island and Bronx Beach.

BeadWhisperer said...

I had a pic of my Dad on a pony too. My grandmother told me there were actually people who brought ponies around for photo ops. Because there are few things cuter than a little kid on a pony.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for honoring Pop-Pop so beautifully again - I love the photos and love that you are showing the world the beloved patriarch of our family. Love you, Nee...Jules xoxo

Dreamybee said...

My grandpa will be 93 in a couple weeks, and his stated goal is to make it to 100 as well. Isn't it amazing to look back over all the things these men have seen in their lives? I've been enjoying all the stories you've been sharing about your step-father.