what was dad like?

a question i constantly thought about, but wasn’t encouraged to keep the vein of questioning alive.

my moms fear came through. however now i look back and i think it wasn’t fear but conviction of hurting her parents that brought the memory not wanted.

they met working at a lab in Williamsport, pa. Dominick DiBernardo had a good family network there in Williamsport. his mother Splendora, sisters and brothers. his first wife was in the town also, and to her was born my half-brother Dominick who i am friends with now. i think Dominick, my dad, fulfilled a need for friendship that no one else was giving that satisfied a longing in mom. and i think the fundamentalist upbringing she received waged war in her mind.

they were married in may 1955, i believe it was more like run away from parents and get hitched with out their blessing, type of marriage.
he was always a mystery to me, i pictured a character out of the god father.

they moved to elk city Oklahoma i believe dad work in a lab there. i was born april 1956 so much of the first year mom was feeling the effects of a pregnancy. only five years before she suffered a broken neck from an auto accident. so her 25-year-old body had some dynamic healing going on.

i was born in Baltimore so my mom was back home that spring.when i was 3 month old she went back to Oklahoma. but the next year 1957 they moved between Hagerstown and Sharpsburg Maryland.
in the fall of 1958 mom started attending grace bible church.
in 1960 she left dad and moved back down home with her parents.

the explanation i would get was that dad was doing drugs, and she was afraid. then she would cry and i didn’t want to ask, any more. i remember looking through some old papers with addresses and i found an address for dad. so i wrote, weeks later the letter came back. and tearfully mom wondered why i wondered about him. in Florida , we moved there in 1961, when i was not quite a teen i remember going to a court room with mom. i was asked if i knew anyone in the room or ever saw anyone there before. no i had not. i was quite afraid of the whole scene. i believe now that maybe dad was there and this was the finale of a divorce or the assurance that a restraining order wasn’t breached.

i met him when i was 38. i phoned his sister ann in Williamsport after my wife got the name from my mom. i was received very lovingly. dad visited us in Iowa when we lived there with his third wife. it was a great reunion for each of us. he wasn’t the mafia type more like the little older gentleman tending the vineyard. this meeting and others with the total clan in williamsport answered lots about my personality and closed a void that was open in my soul.


Perennial plant propogator for Creekhill nursery. Over 40 years of experience with lots of plants from foliage, cut flowers, seasonal potted plants, annuals and perennials. A plant geek and nerd, i am

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December 2012
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