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Unsung Heroes #V: Felipe (standard:poetry, 3837 words)
Author: Victor D. LopezAdded: Jul 22 2017Views/Reads: 1192/719Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is the newest addition to my longest free verse poem, Unsung Heroes, on the death of my dad.

Unsung Heroes ? Felipe (1931 ? 2016) ? 2016 Victor D. Lopez ? All rights

You were born five years before the Spanish Civil War that would see
your father exiled. Language came later to you than your little brother 
Manuel. And you stuttered for a time. Unlike those who speak 
incessantly with nothing to say, you were quiet and reserved. Your 
mother mistook shyness for dimness, a tragic mistake that scarred you 
for life. 

When your brother Manuel died at the age of three from meningitis, you
heard your mom Exclaim: ?God took my bright boy and left me the dull 
one.? You were four or five. You never forgot those words. How could 
you? Yet you loved your mom with all your heart. But you also withdrew 
further into a shell, solitude your companion and best friend. 

You were, in fact, an exceptional child. Stuttering went away at five or
so never to return, And by the time you were in middle school, your 
teacher called your mom in for a rare Conference and told her that 
yours was a gifted mind, and that you should be prepared For university 
study in the sciences, particularly engineering. 

She wrote your father exiled in Argentina to tell him the good news,
that your teachers Believed you would easily gain entrance to the (then 
and now) highly selective public university Where seats were few, 
prized and very difficult to attain based on merit-based competitive 
Exams. Your father?s response? ?Buy him a couple of oxen and let him 
plow the fields.? 

That reply from a highly respected man who was a big fish in a tiny pond
in his native Oleiros Of the time is beyond comprehension. He had 
apparently opted to preserve his own self- Interest in having his son 
continue his family business and also work the family lands in his 
Absence. That scar too was added to those that would never heal in your 
pure, huge heart. 

Left with no support for living expenses for college (all it would have
required), you moved on, Disappointed and hurt, but not angry or 
bitter; you would simply find another way. You took the competitive 
exams for the two local military training schools that would provide An 
excellent vocational education and pay you a small salary in exchange 
for military service. 

Of hundreds of applicants for the prized few seats in each of the two
institutions, you Scored first for the toughest of the two and 
thirteenth for the second. You had your pick. You chose Fabrica de 
Armas, the lesser of the two, so that a classmate who had scored just 
Below the cut-off at the better school could be admitted. That was you. 
Always and forever. 

At the military school, you were finally in your element. You were to
become a world-class Machinist there?a profession that would have 
gotten you well paid work anywhere on earth For as long as you wanted 
it. You were truly a mechanical genius who years later would add 
Electronics, auto mechanics and specialized welding to his toolkit 
through formal training. 

Given a well-stocked machine shop, you could reverse engineer every
machine without Blueprints and build a duplicate machine shop. You 
became a gifted master mechanic And worked in line and supervisory 
positions at a handful of companies throughout your life in Argentina 
and in the U.S., including Westinghouse, Warner-Lambert, and Pepsi Co. 

You loved learning, especially in your fields (electronics, mechanics,
welding) and expected Perfection in everything you did. Every difficult 
job at work was given to you everywhere you Worked. You would not sleep 
at night when a problem needed solving. You?d sketch And calculate and 
re-sketch solutions and worked even in your dreams with singular 

You were more than a match for the academic and physical rigors of
military school, But life was difficult for you in the Franco era when 
some instructors would Deprecatingly refer to you as ?Roxo??Galician 
for ?red?-- reflecting your father?s Support for the failed Republic. 
Eventually, the abuse was too much for you to bear. 

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