Deciding to take tent dwelling up a notch, I decided to join the Boy Scouts at age 11.

As fate would have it, I was now a member of Troop 369 and together with another wise guy started the Beaver Patrol. Hmmm………..

The Scoutmaster ~ a former Marine who thought he was still fighting in Korea, was outright mean and sometimes cruel.

One time camping-out on Mount Tamalpais across The Bay in Marin County, he made us strip and wear just Indian loincloths in freezing rain and eat raw chicken.

Already starting to question authority early in life, he and I surely did not see eye-to-eye; especially when in the downpour my hand slipped and I almost cut-off his foot chopping a tree.

Because I was not into bee-keeping, sewing, ironing and some other what I considered ridiculous merit badge worthy skills, I remained a 2nd class Scout and quit soon afterwards.

My mom did her very best to adapt to this new life that she never thought of when marrying 7 years earlier.

Feeling extremely alone and very hurt especially right after my father left, she would cry herself to sleep at night.

Always praying the rosary before turning off the lights, on one particular distraught evening she felt the comforting veil of The Virgin Myriam silkily across her face.

From that night forward, she never again felt lonely or unprotected.

My mentor in grilling, on her days off she would BBQ for Jimmy and me world class steaks.

How she kept those charcoal briquettes fired-up during those soggy foggy days is still a wonderment.

An early riser, the alarm went off daily to radio channels KEWB or KYA.

As we got ready for school, she would prepare our brown bag lunches and sing along with Elvis, Patti Page, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, etc.

She dropped rock & roll when the Beatles and Rolling Stones started commanding the airwaves, stating that they were “untalented hairy Englishmen”.

Little did she know………

One very blessed day in 1960, Lito made her a Don Corleone offer she could not refuse.

Even though it would add another 15 to a still short 25 minute commute to her Safeway Supermarket, Lito proposed making the down payment on a new home for us in St. Francis Heights, a recently created subdivision in next door Daly City.


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