Dad 7/7/1928 – 30/6/1992 (†)
As I did for Mother’s Day, I have also decided to do for Father’s Day, and share a bit about my dad.
He was born in Guardia, Sicily, the younger of two siblings. He lost his mom when he was 18 months old and his dad when he was 14. He lived partly by his nonna (granny) and partly at the convent where he went to school with monks. He applied for work as a barber as he used to cut the monks hair, which he learned from his father. His potential employer asked him to take a bucket and go wash a wall. He placed it under a running tap and walked away. After his father died in World War II, He successfully applied to re-open his dad’s barber shop which allowed him to earn a living and take care of himself and his sister. At school he achieved matric (or the equivalent thereof.) He later got a bursary to study hairdressing in Milan. While exploring in his spare time he visited Dervio in Lake Como where he met mom. Two years later they got married.
Jack of all Trades
Although he was a hairdresser and a barber by trade, he was also a Jack of all trades. People would call him to fix their appliances, for which he refused to take money. He made beautiful chandeliers for the house and many other things. He also had “out the box” ideas for recycling things e.g. a curtain rail became the top of a railway type gate for our driveway. I could give many other examples. He always wanted to learn new things. He did an art class and even a navigation course, as he was building a yacht and wanted to sail. Despite his poor English he managed to pass the courses.
He played piano accordion and used to play at weddings back in Sicily. He taught my brothers to play piano accordion and guitar. He used to make us kites and take us to fly them. Throughout the years he was also sickly with heart problems and had a valve put in at Groote Schuur hospital. He was extremely generous with his money even though he worked very hard. E.g. he paid for two of his aunts and one uncle to come visit us. He spoilt them with new clothes etc. He did not believe in being attached to material things, and just gave things away e.g. he used to go to the army base to cut people’s hair.
At the base he had bought a beautiful painting which hung in the lounge. Some visitors said they liked it, so he took it down and gave it to them. When he opened his salon in Bellville, he used to stay up late making posters to advertise and came up with all kinds of advertising ideas. However, for personal reasons he left the salon some years later, leaving it to two partners. He then opened a salon in Parow, where things did not go well, and he worked from 9am to 9pm.
After mom’s death dad deteriorated fast and sold the salon. He was bound to a wheelchair; sadly died in hospital. R.I.P dad.