|Another Montreal Autumn|
|The Count's Courtyard|
On July 17th, 1951, a tropical storm crept up the Coast of California from the Gulf of Mexico leaving thick, muggy air in its path. I brushed the damp, sticky hair off my shoulder as I finished the last of my chores. The house was quiet except for the muffled laughter coming from somewhere outside. Glancing out the window, I saw my pregnant Mother and little sister, Tina, laughing and giggling in the wading pool on the lawn outside the kitchen window. Mom waddled back and forth cooling her red, swollen feet. My 5 year old sister splashed and pretended to do the breast stroke in the tiny pool. She was doing just as I had taught her when we played make believe together. Esther Williams would have been proud of the rendition.
I was an overly responsible child for someone so young. I felt very protective of my sister and Mother. It had been a rough year for us all but we were eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new life. Perhaps it would be a boy to carry on the Cevola name. Maybe everything would change and peace would reign in our household. It made me happy to see them so light hearted.
I had spent all of my summer vacation so far trying to relieve my Mother of some of the burdens of household chores. Taking it upon myself, I washed down the kitchen walls that I had heard her say she would like to have cleaned but couldn’t do herself.
Very early the next morning, my Dad woke me to tell me that it was time to take Mom to the hospital. He kissed me softly and told me to go back to sleep and he would call when the baby was born. It was still dark out and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I could hardly wait to hear about the new baby. Hours later, I got my wish.. My brother, Alfonso Mario Cevola, his grandfather’s namesake, was born. Everyone was elated.
A week later, Mom and Dad presented my sister and me with the new bundle of joy. Our family was complete and the family name would survive for another generation.
Al, as we called him, was a lively curious boy. He was a handsome child with beautiful curly hair and enviably long double eyelashes. I lamented the fact that he was so perfect. It really didn’t seem fair. He was a BOY, after all. Because of our almost 13 year age span, I was more of a surrogate Mother than a sister. Over the years, that has changed somewhat. Nevertheless, I still think of Al as my baby brother.
As he grew, Alfonso would take a keen interest in a certain subject or activity and then learn everything he could about it. His interests varied over the years, from baseball in the early years to cameras, cars, travel, wine.... they all became his passion.
The years have had their challenges for Alfonso and the rest of us as well. He has weathered the storms and come out a stronger, wiser man. I am proud of the man he has become. Time has defined him well. As a young man, he honored the world with his only child, Rafael. Two kindred souls sharing Planet Earth.
His focus was on his son, making sure that he knew he was loved and cared for and accepted for himself. There was never any doubt in my mind that Rafael was always Alfonso's top priority.
Sixty years have passed in the flutter of an eyelash. Years of memories, experiences, friendships, joy, laughter, love, heartaches, passion, travel, disappointments, elation, success, fulfillment.
There is so much more to come…..everyday is the beginning of a new adventure. Enjoy your life! It’s yours to live!
Happy 60th Birthday, Alfonso.
I Love You, Sis