1964

In January, we received tragic news that our beloved father and grandfather had died. Italian grandfather passed away prematurely in late middle age, leaving behind my step grandmother and three teenage boys. The funeral was large as grandfather passed away while holding office as mayor of a town in New Jersey. I did not attend the funeral as mother and father believed me too young to experience this event of sadness.

It was time for brother to move into his own bedroom thereby assuming my bedroom. The plan was for me to move upstairs to a section of the Cape Cod attic dormer that was completed with sheetrock, paint, and moldings. I objected, refused, and cried when informed that I would sleep upstairs by myself. I feared the dark and additionally feared sleeping on a level of the house alone. My parents decided at this time to purchase a different style of home in a new housing development that was being erected not too far from our current residence. The above controversy was one of several reasons for the decision of my family to move. The home my parents purchased was a four bedroom colonial with a living area downstairs and all bedrooms upstairs. My father did considerable construction work on the house to save money off of the purchase price. I would accompany father on these excursions to work on our new home that was under construction. One time I played with and rubbed the soft and fuzzy wall insulation on my face and arms only to be in agony sometime later. After the fact, father reprimanded me and said that this soft and fuzzy substance contained shredded pieces of glass. We moved into the home during the summer.

It was planned that during the move that I would visit with the widow of Italian grandfather to allow mother and father to better concentrate on moving and organizing furnishings and other household items. Shortly before moving and in the springtime, our family acquired another pet, a sweet tempered, black and white tiger stripped kitten. After arriving home from grandmother’s house and during the first day in our new home, I sought out the kitten. Mother informed me where the cat was located and when the kitten was found, I quickly discovered that the personality of the cat had changed from gentle to vicious, biting and scratching me as I held her. I stated to mother that this cat had changed after the move to becoming mean and nasty and that I no longer liked this animal. Mother then admitted that during the move, the kind kitten was found dead on the side of the road. Knowing how much the animal was loved by me, she promptly replaced the kitten with an identical one given to her by an Italian woman she knew whose cat had kittens. Over time, this kitten became tame when we subsequently discovered that the cat had a strong penchant for spaghetti with tomato sauce that was demonstrated by begging, purring, and crying when we ate this food for dinner. Finding this behavior to be amusing and comical, we always rewarded her with a bowl of spaghetti. Later, mother discovered that the Italian woman who had given the kitten to mother, regularly fed her cats spaghetti with tomato sauce instead of cat food.

This summer of the move, I enjoyed climbing on the mountains of dirt resulting from the construction. A cornfield, apple orchard, lake, and woods were nearby that I explored with newly found playmates who were also residing in the neighborhood. One day while exploring the wooded area behind the cornfield alone, I happened upon an animal trap that was opened with metal razor sharp jaw like teeth waiting to