Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Falbos

The Falbos, I don't even think I knew their first names until I was an adult.  They just were always Mr. and Mrs. Falbo.  Vic was a steel mill worker.  Jean worked at the hospital.  They had come from Pittsburgh.  They were so Italian.  Vic was an amazing gymnast.  He had won event National Championships in 1948-49.  He was in great shape into his 80s.  He had significant positive impact on gymnastics in our area.  He didn't even have a grey hair on his jet black head until he was into his 70s.  Jean was so nice - always -  and had a shrill voice.  I could recognize it anywhere.  I can still hear her calling him - Viiiiiiiiic!

Mr. Falbo was a big church-goer.  He was there every morning at 6 then off to Mc Donald's with his buddies.   Jean helped save me when I was 3 and had an epileptic fit.  Maybe that's why they were so important to me.  Or maybe it was that Mr. Falbo taught me gymnastics in his front yard and would flip me through the air.  Maybe it was the way they loved their dogs - a long line of Pekingese.  The basket we have of toys for our dogs - I learned that from them.  Maybe it was because they always had a picture of me (my family) sitting with the pictures of their family. Maybe it was because they were supposed to be a symbol to me of what good was.  Maybe it was everything.

I never lied to them or made up stories to tell them.  I always felt safe with them.  If anything, I didn't treat them good enough.  Didn't visit enough as they grew older.  They always had a cookie and a glass of milk for me.  Always wanted me to tell them what was going on with me, and then with my family as I grew up.  They lived very long lives.  I am lucky and blessed to have known them.  I should have been better to them.  I think they were in my life to show me how to be kinder, better and I didn't get it.  I get it now.  I will work to be better.