Today was my dad's birthday.

Friday, 4/21/17

It’s okay for us to preach about a saint, even though he’s not canonized. My dad was born on this April 21, away  back in 1887, and he merited being mentioned from the altar. His father saved up money working in a shop in Limerick, and tried to make a go of it with a similar shop in St. Louis; but he died in 1894, forcing my dad to quit the Second Grade to support his mother and younger brother and sister.

Working as the delivery boy for Mrs. Rump’s candy store, in between runs he pumped the city’s first player piano. It delighted him that people thought he was a child prodigy. He next became a delivery boy for Western Union, and by age fifteen he had mastered their code, and he learned how to type fast with two fingers.

My mother had got passed the fourth grade when she got on at Western Union as a telegraph operator. From the time they were married in 1913 they brought dad’s mother and sister in to stay with them, even after they had six kids of their own.

Working weekends to make the payments, dad bought a two story house. I want to read a poem he wrote about us all coming home to it in 1940 when I was twelve; and I want to read another poem he wrote for my mother in 1970, when she was in a nursing home.

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