In 1918 the world was a very different place than the one we live in today.
Ukraine, Lithunania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbijian, Georgia and Poland all declare independence from the Russian Empire. It was not a good year for the Russian Empire.
World War I is going on and ends November 11.
The Spanish Flu becomes a pandemic and 30 MILLION people die in 6 months.
The Boston Red Sox defeat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Which would be their last World Series until 2004. Don’t ask me about this year’s season. Pathetic is really the only word for it.
There were no computers, the internet didn’t exist. 10 million Bell System telephones were in service. Today more than 4 billion people use telephones. Television didn’t exist in homes yet.
Ted Williams, Rita Hayworth, Nipsey Russell, Art Carney, Billy Graham, Spiro Agnew, Helmut Schmidt, Madeleine L’Engle, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Anwar Sedat, to name a few, are born.
And so was this man:
Tony with my brother and I on what I believe was a family reunion on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. If I recall correctly, he was giving me the “Don’t give me a reason to yell again” look. We might have been whining. It would not be a surprise.
With the Coop on our first visit after he was born.
Anthony Louis DePasquale. My grandfather. A man who for all of my childhood and much of my adulthood was a larger than life character. He smoked smelly cigars and always had a stylish hat and swagger going on.
The sky wasn’t just blue, the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue you have or ever will see. My mother didn’t just ice skate well as a little girl, she could have been an Olympic contender. She didn’t just play the piano, she could have been a concert pianist performing at Carnegie Hall. The dog my mother and her sisters adopted while he was away on a business trip didn’t just dislike him. That dog was a man eating carnivore ready to rip my grandfather’s throat out if he so much as looked at him sideways. He breezed into our lives every so often on business trips, teaching us random Italian phrases that we would try to remember for the next visit. He and my grandmother relocated to Oregon when he retired. They traveled in an RV around the country, often going to the Southwest to spend a month in the desert. They would golf, bowl, and he would take classes in things like jewelry making, wood working and stained glass. I called him Gepetto when he turned his garage into a wood working shop and made toys and other wooden doo dads.
He was the son of Italian immigrants and made the most of his opportunities here. He is the father to three lovely daughters, husband to my grandmother Agnes.
Today is his 93rd birthday, and their 72nd wedding anniversary. That is a long time to be alive and a long to time to be married. Life has certainly not passed them by, although they are older, slower and a little more frail than they once were. But that is true of most of us.
Happy Birthday Grandpa. I wish we could be out there to celebrate with you and Grandma. Virtual hugs to you both.