Ninety two years ago today in a three-decker apartment on Cottage Street in East Boston, Remo Coradini Sinibaldi was born.
He grew up as a “Dump Rat” which was the moniker the residents of Cottage Street put on themselves because of the area’s proximity to the East Boston landfill. At the age of eight he contracted rheumatic fever, an infection of the heart which in those days called for complete bed rest and you either lived or died. Well, he lived, although in the same epidemic he lost his older sister Amelia.
This left his heart permanently damaged and with a life expectancy of between 40 and 50 years. That was before the days of antibiotics, heart surgery and valve replacements. Despite his ailment which limited him physically, he served his country in WW II and again during the Korean Conflict. He married Mary Kelly, fathered Ruthann, Willie, Yours truly and Nancy. He was Papa to ten grandkids and he was a “rock to stand on for lo so many years.”
We are all “up there” in age now and Dad has been gone for nearly 15 years but I can honestly say there are times that I feel closer to him than ever! We have no control of the miracle of life or the accident of birth which brings us all here; no control over who are parents will be, however I do know that on that roulette wheel I hit the jackpot a gazillion times over. So on this Easter Sunday, this grateful man gives thanks to God for bringing me here through the union of Mary Kelly and Remo Sinibaldi and I share with you once again, my birthday tribute to Dad!
Today I share with you the honor of being his son.
I wrote this to him for his 75th birthday!
I suppose that Teddy Ballgame would have to have been my first;
And learning of him at your hand, I could have done much worse.
They followed fast and furious, all of them played my game;
Just to mention some by name.
Football game me some of them. There was…..
Babe and Gino
Were among them too….
And all of them were tough.
From the parquet floor they also came…..
In green and white they forged their fight,
we knew they’d never lose.
The Garden ice gave me but one, the fabulous number 4, players come and players go,
There’ll never be another Orr.
The music world presented them, social comments with their songs,
Dylan, Joan Baez
In my eyes could do no wrong.
In ’61’ he said “the call had summoned us again”…..
He sought for us a higher place where we had never been.
In ’63’ they shot him down,
But let it never be forgot,
That one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.
The sixties were tumultuous, there were bus rides, sit-ins, protests.
Martin Luther King taught us, non-violence is best.
He marched on Washington DC to tell us of his dream,
And they shot him down too, as crazy as it seems.
Our country then exploded and our cities burned at night, who or where could we turn now to show us what was right?
Bobby Kennedy stepped forward to pick up the New Frontier.
But a bullet….. would claim him too,
confirming our worst fears.
We stumbled to the seventies, and barely stayed in tact.
Without a clue of where to turn, to straighten up our act,
Election year 1972,
And Senator George McGovern,
Massachusetts was oh so right,
As America came to learn…..
He was the last to stand upon my pedastal called hero,
For the seventies gave us Nixon, Agnew and a significant flock of zeros.
Or maybe I’ve grown wiser, as the years have tiptoed by,
Or maybe there just are no more, I think to myself and sigh.
Alas the 1980s, which Orwell said to fear,
Twenty plus years of baseball
And Yastrzemski was still here.
In ’83’ he said goodbye,
That final boyhood link was gone….
For at 30, I was a big boy now, it was time for movin on.
It’s March the year 2012 and I’ve snuck past 55, appreciating more with each new day what it means to be alive.
And as I sit here and reflect on heroes of the past, one stands head and shoulders over this or any class.
He never hit one over Fenway’s monster made of green, in the Senate or the White House he was never seen.
He never threw a touchdown pass or sank two from the line, and he never wrote a song before and that suits me just fine.
For he’d guide with all his wisdom, and support with all his strength, and when ere he was asked to please help out, he would go to any length.
He’s been a rock to stand on for lo so many years, and with love and understanding, he has soothed so many fears.
So when you talk of heroes, and I’ve had many since a lad, one and only one remains to me…..
and that’s my Dad!
Happy Birthday Papaluche, you are with me always!
And so it was, and so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, March 31, 1921, March 31, 1953, March 31, 2012.