Ah the subtle hands of fate: 88.5 years ago, MonkGramps was about to be deployed to France to fight the Germans when the warring nations signed the Armistice that ended World War I. Seven and a half years later, in April 1926, MonkGramps (the son of Italian immigrants) and MonkGran (an off-the-boat Italian immigrant herself) welcomed their first child, MonkAuntJ, into the world.
Within two years, MonkGramps and MonkGran had a son, but MonkleJack did not survive infancy. About two years after that, on March 16, 1930, MonkGramps and MonkGran had a second baby boy and he survived and flourished.
The best thing about PaMonk's birthdays is that each March 16 he has less that he must to improve before matching his age on the links. Oh yeah, he also gets time with MaMonk, MonkNiece and will soon get time with the impending Monkling.
Below is what I wrote last year. It applies just as much today:
Seventy six years ago today, MonkGramps and MonkGran welcomed their second baby boy into the world. Unlike his older brother, this baby thrived and prospered. He served his country in the USAF defending the UK during the Korean War. He returned to the US, had three kids, got a plum job as a teacher in the second-best public high school in NYC and found the woman of his life on the second try -- MaMonk, 43 years ago this June. In 1970, he had his fourth and final progeny -- The Monk.
PaMonk is not just my Dad, but what a Dad should be: a figure of respect and to be emulated (for the most part); knowledgeable and sharp -- we don't go to bars, we go to ballgames; we never talked smack about women -- that was for me and my friends (before Monkette2B domesticated me). He's a history and politics reference today, just as he was when I was in my developmental stages. Supportive, smart, demanding, disciplined. In all cases, he was my Dad first and foremost and that's what a son needs.
So here's to the PaMonk -- 76 and still hoping to match his age on the golf course (that may take another two decades). Happy Birthday Pop, I love you.