Families by John Cali

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word “families?”

For some folks it evokes warm, “fuzzy” feelings. For others, just the opposite.

I grew up in a large Roman Catholic family of Sicilian immigrants. My family memories are the warm, fuzzy kind.

How about you—what are your childhood memories?

“Jim,” one of my closest childhood friends also came from an Italian immigrant family. I loved him like a brother. But after we both left home as young adults, we drifted apart.

A few years ago, “out of the blue,” Jim called me. We had a nice chat and, as you might expect, we started talking about our families. Jim had an unhappy childhood, and even today harbors hateful feelings toward his father, now long dead.

About the same time Jim and I talked another close childhood friend contacted me. “Sara” and I had a fun time recalling our younger years together as friends and neighbors.

Sara grew up in a warm, nurturing family. She spoke fondly of both her parents, whom she loved dearly. They also are long dead.

Two different people. Two different families. And yet Jim and Sara are brother and sister.

2 Responses

  1. Marlene

    Oh I can easily believe that siblings could describe their parents in totally different ways! My brother had an entirely different relationship with my mother than she did with me. Mom gave, and gave, and gave to my brother. Her time, her money, her affection, and her attention. The more she gave, the more my drug addicted, alcoholic brother expected, and took. Me? Though I was the "good girl", stable, raising my family in a way no one could fault, I always received criticism and ridicule. Apparently she boasted about me to others, but never praised me to my face.

    Do we speak differently about our mother now that she has passed. You betcha!

    Ah well. I figure she must've played some kind of important role in my development here. I swore I'd never raise my kids with that kind of negativity and condemnation.

  2. saoud

    Families affect our lives big time, especially fathers… as mothers are most of the times the caring member of the family however the father is supposed to be the role model and the builder and protector of the family… I somehow sympathize with Jim as I feel sorry for my own father.. I do not hate him though. Thanks John for this wonderful shared experience

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