A Dedication to My Father

by Daniel Nardini

My father was like so many of his generation, Born during the Great Depression (1929-1940), he grew up in extreme poverty in the Italian ghettos. Amid the violence and desperation of his environment, James Nardini, along with his brother, sisters, and mother and father, worked very hard to overcome their plight and build a better life when life was so hard. His mother had to cook for 11 surviving children, and his father worked 12 hours a day at a milk factory that he and two other Italian immigrants owned. This kept the family alive, and from there James Nardini would graduate from high school and then go on to college. He graduated from college, and then earned his masters in English in 1956. For seven years, he taught in various high schools in Chicago.

My father and mother moved from Chicago to the suburb of Bellwood, Illinois, where they began to raise a family. They eventually moved to Elmhurst, Illinois, where they lived for the next 22 years. While he was raising a family, James worked in various companies like RCA, Zenith, Jefferson Electric, and then the Seeberg Corporation. Like so many people of his generation, James rose from a poor immigrant family to become a middle class and then upper-middle class family. Everyday, he worked an average of 10 hours a day so that our needs were met. His hard work and determination helped my sister and I to go to college. None of us went for want, and for all the years we lived in Elmhurst our lives were good. Tired of working in the corporate world, my father started his own two businesses.

On May 12, 1990, my mother died unexpectedly in her sleep. In many ways, my father fell apart and was never the same again. Nevertheless, for the sake of us, he continued to live as normal and active a life as was possible. His health began to deteriorate over the years, and so he eventually retired to Tampa, Florida, where he lived with my sister Nancy and with his grand-daughter Jessica. His life in Tampa was good, and he recovered some of his health thanks to Nancy and her family. From time to time my wife and I visited him in Tampa. One day, he fell ill and went into a coma. He never woke up, and died surrounded by family. We will all miss him, and he will always be loved, cherished and remembered by us. Rest in peace Dad.

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