|Unsung Heroes #V: Felipe (standard:poetry, 3837 words)|
|Author: Victor D. Lopez||Added: Jul 22 2017||Views/Reads: 319/122||Story 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 reserved 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 passion. 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. Click here to read the rest of this story (324 more lines)
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