As much as I wanted to continue my new series this week spotlighting individuals, couples , expats and locals alike who call Puerto Vallarta home and the reasons they love it here , my father , my last surviving parent made his transition this week . I am returning to Los Angeles once again, unexpectedly for a funeral.
How do I characterize, my father, Nathan? He was a Holocaust survivor. Born in Poland in a small bucolic town December 15, 1925 and the eldest of seven children. His parents then moved to Danzig to pursue better education for their children and a more refined way of life. One day at the unvarnished age of thirteen he was walking home from school and was thrown violently on the back of a truck by the Nazi regime to work in concentration camps, never to see his parents or younger siblings again . They were all murdered during the Holocaust.
Can you imagine losing everyone and everything at thirteen years of age? To witness and experience such atrocity’s? After the war my father immigrated to the U.S. Moving from Manhattan to Chicago where he met my mother. She was seventeen years of age, he was twenty- three. After dating 3 months they eloped to Las Vegas.
My parents moved west and made Los Angeles their home . Nathan worked at various odd jobs, restaurant kitchens, meat packing plants, selling various sundries door to door though with his independent, restless nature holding down a 9 to 5 job was not in the cards. My father fancied himself a bit of a rogue and liked to believe he could make a life as a professional gambler, until my mother put her foot down after the first two babies!
My father is that mythological yet very real immigrant success story. Be it from persistence, stubbornness or both my father created a business that he loved. Starting with a few dollars in capital and a used station wagon my father bought drill bits and the like from surplus suppliers for professional machine shops and again went door to door selling his wares.
With my mother handling all the accounting details my father could concentrate on sales and their fledgling business grew into a retail / wholesale enterprise that exists to this day. All of this began from selling from the back of a used beat up station wagon to selling to Hughes Aircraft, U.S Steel, Robinson Helicopter and many more including now, Space X.
From a would be rogue to workaholic of many years and 7 children later my father finally conceded to taking and even enjoying vacations with my mother and family cruises . My parents and I traveled together a few times to Puerto Vallarta staying in resorts and once renting a condo at Playas Gemelas. What I remember most from that particular trip was a romantic image of my parents lying on the sofa my mother’s head lying in my father’s lap while she read a book aloud as he listened intently and joyfully.
My Friends and I took my parents up to El Nogalito for a rustic lunch on the river, where my father was in heaven eating whole grilled snapper and sucking the head of the fish a “typico” treat to a born eastern European .
I hope it’s true when we die loved ones who have already passed come and greet us making our transition gentler. I like to believe my father was met by my mother, two sons, his parents and siblings.
Wouldn’t that be sweet?