Benjamin Franklin said it well "Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late." as we approach Father's Day I can't help but reflect upon the wisdom of Franklin's statement when I think of my dad Paul Luvera, Sr. From the perspective of my 82 years I see how blessed my sisters Phyllis, Anita and I were by who our parents were. I regret my failure to fully and completely appreciate how unique my dad was until he had passed on. While I loved and admired him during his life, is only from the perspective of my old age that the full impact of his accomplishments are clear to me.
Both parents were extraordinary people in many ways and dad was particularly a unique human being. His father found a way to escape the crushing poverty of southern Italy by immigrating to Canada. With the help of the oldest son, dad's brother, they earned enough money to bring dad's mother and the rest of the family to Canada to join them. These were largely uneducated, very poor, and non-English speaking people who managed to find a way to overcome oppressive poverty in southern Italy and eventually find their way to America.
Dad was a family leader primarily because he taught himself English and became the family spokesperson even though he had at best a sixth grade education in his life. After working for the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a laborer installing railroad tracks my grandfather found his way to Coleman, Alberta Canada. There the family lived while my grandfather and the boys worked in the coal mines. It was back breaking dangerous work and after a time my grandfather developed lung disease from the coal mine. They decided to follow the oldest son who had moved on to Anacortes Washington. It was dad who stayed in Coleman while the rest of the family went on to Anacortes in order for him to sell the family possessions and wrap up their life in Coleman even though he was a comparative youngster.
Dad was very proud of the fact that he was a naturalized citizen and flew the American flag every day in front of our house. Dad's instinct for self improvement and his strong drive for betterment led to his securing a loan from a wholesale grocery supply company, Reliance groceries, to open his own small store. He and my grandfather operated the family grocery store, Luvera's Market, in Anacortes. After marrying mother they operated the store as a family team. With mother's help it was a successful store which survived the depression, supported our family and provided a college education for my two sisters and myself.
Dads many accomplishments have been outlined in previous posts in this blog but they include his being elected to the state Senate and his community involvement which resulted in a highway to Anacortes being named the "Paul luvera senior highway." For more information see: https://www.paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2016/12/an-italian-immigrants-journey.html
So, as we approach this Father's Day I offer this belated acknowledgment of my having had the benefit of an extraordinary father. Any accomplishments in my life are directly connected to his positive encouragement and personal accomplishments During his life. Happy Father's Day dad.