Here's the story
I don’t know when my father’s eyes turned grey. They were always brown. I know they were, brown like an Italian, my mother’s blue, like a German. I know that for a fact because I that’s how I spoke of my heritage. My dad’s German but looks Italian. My mom’s Italian but looks German. So, how did they get to be grey? Does the color leak out as you age? Will my whole world revert to black and white one day, just as so many of memories of my childhood are? Will I, too, lose the color from my eyes? Black and white. I see myself, my family, our friends, all in black and white for the first seven years of my life, the time before we moved from the Bronx to the suburbs.
Old family photos show children, in the summer, looking sun-kissed, rosy cheeks and golden curls shine through the monochromatics. The adults always looked happy. Stress wasn't invented yet. I see moms in sundresses, pouring lemonade and dads in sparkling white undershirts, beers in hand. We are pictured seated at tables on front porches. We’re in folding chairs at backyard parties, omnipresent bowls of ice cream, huge watermelons and cans of soft drinks, littering hand-embroidered tablecloths. We smile as we look at the camera, squinting at the sun. The boys are often pictured showing their best “funny faces”, for then and now forever. Budding comedians who never made it to the stage.
I love to think of my mother, in her youth, enjoying a summer day but it is my youthful father who fills that space in my memory more often than not. Mommy worked away from the home all day and Daddy, as a New York policeman who worked shifts, was more available. It was he who wove together my childhood summer recollections. I see Dad at the beach, Dad at Playland, Dad in the kitchen, making Campbell’s mushroom soup for our lunch and it was Dad who, on that June morning when we left our first home forever, drove us to our brand-new home in a brand-new car, his surprise for my mother, brother and I.
I remember that moment so well. The vision of my brown-eyed father, the pride and joy written all over his face as we drove away taking his family to their house in the suburbs in a beautiful shiny sedan that June morning. That car, it was as blue as the sky that day. The sun hung, bright yellow in the sky, exactly where my dad had placed it.
My father hasn’t any memory of this moment or of us making our move but I do, so clearly. I can’t remember much about the rest of that particular day but I do know this much. From that day on, my summer memories, in fact all of my remaining childhood memories, are in color. Vivid color. And blue, it's my favorite.
|Wink, wink.......Image courtesy of wallpho.com|