The Day Dad Died


Cancer took a year to eat through his pancreas and other vital organs. Then he was kicked out of the V.A. Hospital in Jamaica Plain because, at that time, there was no room for veterans with terminal illnesses. So, they packed him off to Holy Ghost Hospital to waste away.

The phone call came at 6 in the morning in May of 1954 and then a phone call went out to cousin Harry to please hurry over to drive Ma to Boston in our 10 year old green Ford convertible with the top that wouldnít go down. Harry had recently gotten his license and was only too anxious to show his driving prowess. Needless to say, he got her there on time. Thank you Harry.

One of my relatives (I forget who - probably Uncle Ted) told me and my brother Joe that Dad had died. David and Marianne were too young to realize. We would be home from school for the next 3 days.

"Tommy, would you and Joey go to Pelletierís and pick up some medicine that was ordered for your mother?" Asked whoever was watching us. I was 10; Joe was 8. I didnít know how to handle what was happening.

"Letís pretend nothing happened when we go into the drug store." I told Joe. We went into the store laughing.

"Is that any way for boys to act when their father just died?" Said the lady at the counter. Embarrassed, we asked for the medicine and went home.

The only other thing I remember that day was supper. Uncle Ted ordered something new to us called Submarine Sandwiches. God, were they good, and set us up for the trauma that was to follow.