Always the “Mama’s Boy”, my father would lock me in the car during his special private luncheons.
Impatient and hungry to have my burgers & fries or see the lions and bears ~ my favorite animals, I eventually learned to unlock the car door and escape.
It was during one of these breakouts that his mother forgot to lock the front door and I walked in; only to gaze upon her in the bathtub covered with pots & pans and my father playing on top of a different type of instrument.
His mother a devout disciple of Santeria ~ Caribbean witchcraft, believed that covering herself with these kitchen utensils would ward-off evil spirits.
Because he would fly only with his mother to visit their relatives in Puerto Rico, on one of these trips he encountered a beautiful Pan Am stewardess that actually resembled Sophia Loren.
Family rumors and gossip about his long-distance relationship abounded, but my Mother was madly in love with love and chose not to believe them.
When ultimately the day my father announced that he wanted to separate and move to Puerto Rico with his mother for better "career" opportunities, my Mom finally really believed him.
Supposedly leaving the reconciliation door open, he invited my Mom to test-drive Puerto Rico and see if she would also like to move there.
Even though concerned that I would start kindergarten in September and leaving her parents behind in San Francisco, she nevertheless was willing to give their marriage a fair shot.
Always blessed with an elephant-type photographic memory, I can still see my Mom in August 1956 walking down the stairs of a TWA prop that stopped on an open tarmac at what is now NYC’s Kennedy with Tappy in her arms.
Being hammered by a heavy downpour and eschewing the stewardess offered umbrella to avoid dropping Tappy on the uncovered slippery stairs, my Mom suffered a severe cold and ensuing lifetime hearing loss.
But more pain was on her travel itinerary............