Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yesterday #atozchallenge

Temple of Dreams...

Today's image is a photo of the movie theater I spent most of my childhood.  It was a temple to my dreams.  Today, its a Marshall's department store.  They say the architectural details are intact under the new construction.  Just another ghost from a better yesterday.

As the challenge draws to a close you may realize I dwell on parts of my past.  I've been told I've long chased my father's ghost.   It's easy really.  He was quite the character.  There are a lot more stories to tell. Like the time he poured a bag of cement down a toilet to spite the land lord.  Or the time he was fighting with a neighbor and crazy glued her lock.   

However, this was also the guy who, in later years would get a giant watermelon and bring half of it to her just because he knew she liked watermelon.   He was also the guy who saw one of the local toughs on the block slap his girlfriend. He was off the porch and on this guy in seconds. One shot and this guy was out cold.   He was the guy who you could call for any favor at any time. He'd moan and complain but he never let you down.  I aspire to that though some gripe that I complain when they ask for help.  What they don't understand is that's me being like him.  And I've never refused.  It would dishonor him and go against everything he showed me.   

They say the shirt someone gives you off their back is the same shirt they can choke you with.   That wasn't him.  I hope that's not me.   It was difficult living with a man who could be your worst nightmare and your best friend in the same breath.  I never knew where I stood.  More often than not, I was the side kick, the foil and the ignored voice of reason.   I was the kid who pointed out the danger in flouting rules and he was the father who proved over and over that rules were nearly abstract thoughts.     Everyone who knew him loved him.  At his wake I found I inherited the favor of several shady characters and a few lawyers.   No one had a bad thing to say. 

I wondered if I was at the wrong wake.  

But no, I could see how people loved him.  He was larger than life and I really want his story out there.  I've wanted to write his memoir for years but he was no one special nor did he have celebrity status.  He was just my father.  A local Brooklyn guy who must have had dreams he never expressed.  They died with him.  I never got to know what he wanted to be and in turn, he never got to see what I've yet to become. 

Because of what he was, were we're from (and when) and the New York that no longer exists, I chase yesterday.   I'm not stuck there but I remember when things were different and in my opinion, more authentic and more fun.   Maybe you feel this way about where you're from. 

My father represented the fearlessness I wanted in myself yet he was at heart, a little boy who loved to play.  Just like me. 

TIP: When your father takes the flying model rocket you spent weeks building and sets it on fire while launching it into space "because it's funny" you realize you don't have a conventional parent. 

He said two things before he died; he said, "you'll realize I was right about everything and you'll miss me when I'm gone".  I laughed in his face but you know something, he was right.  Twice.   I chase yesterday because in my own way, I keep him alive and I really want you to know him.  His name was Anthony Serafini and you would have loved him.  


  1. I also write a lot about the past and write mostly my mother's stories as she seemed to live life to the fulliest. I don't think my childhood was as well remembered as hers. I talk to her nightly and for years have scribbled the stories and memories we talk about and I have them blogged on my site as conversations with mom. In this A to Z I wrote on Southern Foods and Memories.

  2. Jeanne, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks for stopping by and making me aware of your work. I'll be visiting shortly...

  3. Just beautiful Tommy. I love the way you write about your dad. He definitely seems like a larger than life character. You should write a book with a character based on him.