Emulating a German Costa Rican Archie Bunker from the ground-breaking at the time “All in the Family” TV show, Lito was a benevolent dictator.
A very stern and self-disciplined man, in the 1950’s he had already lost most of the beautiful wavy hair from his Costa Rican babe-magnet 20’s and gained enough weight and muscle to be barreled chested and had arms like Superman.
An exemplary role model for me as a “busy beaver” and now with my father gone, Lito was runnin’ the rackets both at his and Lita’s home across the street as well as at my mom’s.
Waking up on Saturdays @ 6.00 A.M. just like he did for work, he would be downstairs at 7 sharp after reading the morning San Francisco Chronicle.
Subconsciously regretting not accomplishing his dream of being a doctor, he would line-up his tools military style on his massive and immaculate work bench just like a surgeon would.
Lito was blessed by the cabinet shop boss for his extraordinary talent and work-ethic with beautiful hardwood scraps from around the world.
My Grandpa would design and create jewelry boxes shaped like the pianos he used to hand-finish.
As well as build glass encased & lighted china cabinets and various custom creations that adorned his and my Mom’s homes.
An impeccable replica of a perfectly rounded Spanish sombrero decorated with tiny mosaic-like wooden tiles and a hand-lathed sailfish were his masterpieces.
I fondly remember him tapping his thick fingers on the work bench planning his next operation.
When his creation was not perfect, he would suddenly take the ballpeen hammer and destroy the piece, turn off the lights and send me home.
Always extremely generous, he would still pay me my $1.00.
Now being my 2nd father, I wanted to be just like Lito.
Never refusing the opportunity to learn new craftsman skills and earn comic book and baseball card money, I would climb tall ladders in windy weather, be the cut wood receiver of his many electric industrial saws and attempt to always perfectly accomplish my assignments.
It was during his building this enormous home sized work shop at the end of the sprawling backyard that his volcanic temper reached its limits.