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Oh Father, Who Art thou?

As I sit on my bed listening to the news about the Corona Virus it seems to have spread from China into Chicago, California and New York. The states are taking measures to contain the spreading of this virus by having people self-isolate for 14 days. People all over the world are starting to panic.This has already spread into Iran and Italy. As I watch all this happening I can tell you that I do understand why people are completely paralyzed with fear about the future of their lives, our culture and our nation. I could relate to this fear on a daily basis long before this devastating virus began. My life began 47 years ago but as my father once told me he debated on whether or not to abort me. I was 10 years old when he told me this.

I was born and raised in Florida in the 70's, a time when neighbors lived a quarter mile or more down the road. Neighborhoods were peaceful and safer back then. I lived on the corner of Keystone Rd which was a major road between Tarpon Springs and Tampa, and a side road name Lora Lane. The neighborhood kids and I would wait for hours just to see a car drive by and then we would wave like we had been stranded on a deserted island. I miss those days. Things were so much simpler than.

I have 3 siblings, two brothers and one sister. Everyone except me was born in Cincinnati Ohio. My brothers are the oldest, fraternal twins and my sister is five years older than me. When my brothers were two years old my father moved them and my mom to Florida. Later they adopted my sister who is actually my first cousin. My father hated the cold weather up there but frankly I think he really just wanted to get as far away from Ohio as he could. My mom was reluctant to move since her entire family lived close to one another. She has four sisters and they were a pretty tight knit family. But the culture back then was much different than it is now and she didn’t argue with him.

My grandfather on my mom’s side was a very loving and humble man. He owned a dairy factory but he also delivered the milk himself. He would go door to door dropping and picking up milk in those old glass containers. I inherited one of those glass containers and every time I look at it I think of him. I can still see those big brown soft eyes hidden behind those rectangle eye glasses. He always looked at me with such warmth and understanding. I loved the sweet smell of his big cigar tucked in the corner of his mouth and even when he spoke it just always seemed to be part of his attire. The best memory I have of him is his gentle but encompassing hugs. He would always stoop down and open his arms as wide as he could as I plunged into them. He would envelope me with them and I had never felt more safe in my life. These memories are from my preschool to young elementary years. I don’t carry many of these memories since we lived so far away and didn’t get to visit often but unfortunately they ended way too soon. He died when I was in elementary school.

My grandfather on my father’s side was malicious, hateful and abusive. We didn’t visit him very often but when we did it was very brief. And even those brief visits left us kids emotionally crippled and in disbelief for hours after we left. Unfortunately for us it was a precursor for what was to come with our father.

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