Father’s Day is upon us, and this July 3rd my father would have had his 89th birthday. He died in 1985, when he was only 56, and every year I have lived past that age, I’ve had time to be thankful and to think about what he gave me. I have inherited/learned a great many things from my father, and thanks to him have gotten to live a life that he probably would have liked for himself.
You see my father, Eligio DiMonte, was an entertainer. Not professionally, not even semi-professionally; but definitely in his heart. He loved music and making people laugh; and he LOVED to sing. He had a beautiful, warm singing voice that he shared far too little with the world. As a young immigrant from Italy, he had dreams of becoming a professional singer. He certainly had the looks for it, and he had a very musical and inviting singing voice. He had what it took to make a go of it, but he also had a strong sense of family, and wanted a wife and children. And he wanted to provide for them. So, he worked construction and finally ended up working for Consolidated Edison, New York’s power company, for over 30 years and gave up the dream of a life as a singer.
He had another remarkable trait/strength, that he definitely passed on to me. It was an “I can do/fix/build that” attitude, that more often than not was very successful and saved our family a lot of money. If something around the house broke, or needed improvement, he was all in. Plumbing, carpentry, brick and mortar, you name it. He would teach himself how to do a task and then do it. Nothing remained in a state of disrepair for long around our house. Not that there weren’t some gaffs along the way. I recall a portable cassette player, and a few other items in need of repair, that disappeared into his work room in the basement, and never made it out again. By the way, the work room was called the “Shinty”. The best I can surmise, it was a New York/Italian bastardization of the word shanty.
I inherited my father’s love for music, for singing, for entertaining, and for always trying to fix some appliance or make some prop myself, before hiring someone to do it for me. I have had the privilege of making my living as an entertainer, while still having a wonderful wife and child and a beautiful home. He had to give up his dream, but I feel that he passed the baton on to me; and I thank him every day for it.