DWD October 28, 2009

Wow, it has been a long time since I had a DWD. I went to Orlando to work NBAA and the day I arrived in Orlando dad went into the hospital with an infection. Turned out he has 2 abses in his pancrias. It took all of 10 days for them to finally do  a surgery to drain those nasty abses and deam him well enough to go home.  He is very weak but finally growing stronger by the day.  Carol on Thursday went down to Pittsburgh for her grandson’s birthday. I stayed home with dad and we sat up one night talking.  I am still a little fuzzy on his navy years so we started with that. 

Actually I started by asking him why didn’t he become a pilot since he loves airplanes so much.  He said that when he went to the navy the war was just ending and there were a lot of pilots coming home.  He signed up for the navy and was sent to Memphis for 4 months of training. Itchy was in the class ahead of him. Skippy signed up as well but he was underage and after a couple of months his mother came and pulled him out.  That part always cracks me up.  Dad lived in Long Island where he was stationed. This part is still fuzzy to me he did 2 years full time and then 4 years part time. He called it weekend warrior. Plus at this time we were starting to see the introduction of jet engines.  After the navy he knocked around for 6 months trying to find himself. Grandma finally came to him and said look – go to Brooklyn College and take some classes. What a lot of people don’t know about my father is he was dsylexic and not very good at school.  He had to go and first take high school classes. Why? Because he went to a Vo Tech school with Itchy in Manhattan and needed some high school classes before he could start his college courses.  Dad said he was always good at the bio and math.  Classes that were cut and dry. It was the gray classes like psychology where it is gray that gave him trouble.  With his dsylexia he trained himself to memorize the entire page and lucky for him had good recall when envisioning the page for testing.  Back in his day and being on the GI bill you could get into Optometery school with only 2 years of college.  The class that stood between my father and Univ. of Pa Optometery was a foreign language. Dad told me he under no circumstances can do languages.  His choices were German or Latin since medicine stems from those 2 languages. Dad chose German.  He did so bad in it that he finally went to the professor tears in his eyes and BEGGED him to pass him so he could go onto become an eye doctor.  The professor sat and spent some time talking with dad on trying to find out what Uge was all about before he would make such a big decision.  Dad also promised the prof that if he passed my father that he would #1 – never darken his doorstep again and #2 – never speak a word of German again.  Those 2 promises along with Uge’s desire to move on with his life was enough to convince the professor pass dad.  We didn’t really talk much about his time in Philly.  He did say by the time he graduated he was engaged to mother and that both sets of parents came to his graduation.  He also told me on a previous conversations that to earn money he working loading tractor trailers with magazines at night. It was exhausting hearing him talk about it.

Next we fast forwarded to one of his patents. My father and Guido Gagini started a company in the 60’s called DenBru.  It was a combination of both of their sons first names.  Guido’s son Dennis and my brother Bruce.  DenBru made machines that people could make their own hard contact lenses.  People bought these machines from all over the world.  When contact lenses were giving way to the soft lense dad’s friend Skippy came to dad with an offer.  Oddly enough Skippy moved to the Western Pa working for a company that made clamps for hoses.  They had a divison that also made cylinders for smoke bombs.  During the 60’s riots in Watts people were killed when the police would shoot smoke bombs and pepper spray into the homes and the bombs would not go off properly and fires were started.  Skippy was head of the divison and came to my father and Mr. G and hired them to make a more effective bomb.  For this he was paid $10,000.00  Mr. G and dad designed a bomb so when the gun was shot and the bomb was sent sailing that fins would spring out and as it sailed it would puncture the can and the smoke would come pouring out.  This also made it easier for the police to hit their targets and to release the smoke.  Guido and Dad got this patented and thousands of these were manufactured and sold. Dad said he loved working the project with Mr. G because he was a genius at machines and he loved to hunt so he was very familiar with guns.  After this project he had to promise mom no more because she wanted him home at night helping with the kids.  Dad was quite the inventor and as I am spending a lot of quality time with my father this is the part of him that I am really enjoying getting to know.  This was actually the second project that dad did for Skippy’s company.  The first project had something to do with building an optical device that counted railway cars.  Dad and Mr. G worked on it but it never really came to be because if the railway cars were dirty it didn’t get a good reading.

This is my fathers story for now and he is going to be sticking to it.

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