Well it’s my birthday, time for reflection on where I’ve been and where I’m going and time to consider all those who have helped me to get to where I am today.
In this, the beginnings of my fourth decade here, I can honestly say that i am very lucky to have many close friends and family. Many who have been there for me, supported me and helped me out when I needed it. All of which I am very grateful for.
However I want to take a moment to recognize the one person to whom I ow so much…My Tante Alice, Alice Marie Powell she’s the lady that raised me, my mentor, my best friend and truly…my mother. If you want to hear the whole story on how she came to raise me, you’re going to have to catch my presentation sometime if you haven’t already…LOL.
I would not be sitting here today celebrating my 40th had it not been for this woman. She was the strongest person I ever knew and would go to any length to protect me and steer me onto the right path. Her words of wisdom shaped me into the person I am today, a few of her sayings:
"Never let anybody tell you that you are not good enough"
"If you want my respect and my trust, you’re going to have to earn it!"
"You’re going to have to take responsibility for you life, because I’m not always going to be here, but I know you can do it and I believe in you."
"That whole blood is thicker than water saying is…BULLSHIT, you’re more my son than anything and I love you."
These and many more were the words that I heard growing up, very empowering indeed. What she said to me was important because it molded me but the fact that she listened to me was just as important. It was comforting to know that I always had someone who would listen and validate me.
She was fun, she loved to dance and attempted to teach me the waltz on a few occasions. She loved music and I developed a great appreciation for Big Band music listening to records with her. She also loved disco and was a huge Micheal Jackson fan, she loved to watch him dance. She played the keyboard by ear and was one of my biggest fans when I started to learn to play guitar. I knew she loved me when she listened to my off key single note renditions of classic Beatles songs that were completely butchered and always cheered me along, encouraging me and emphasizing the words…keep practicing!
We’d take Sunday morning drives after church and go treasure hunting at Yard Sales. I managed to buy a few guitars at some of these sales and I learned all about driving a bargain.
Home is where the heart is…was a saying that went well with her. Tante Alice was the center of the universe for the family, birthday parties, Christmas, Thanks Giving, Easter, Halloween every and any family function was always spearheaded by Tante Alice and her famous cooking. One trait that I picked up from her was that all were welcome in her home. As is the same for Sue and I.
She loved to read, was quick witted and fast with jokes and observations about life. She introduced me to the library and was instrumental in beginning my life long love affair with reading books.
She was strong, could speak her mind and lay you flat out if you pissed her off. But there was always a sweet spot for kids, kids flocked to my Tante Alice, I like to refer to her as the pied piper. She imposed rules and limits whenever anyone came over and I believe it was the structured guidance that she offered to the youth that made her so appealing to them. She use to say all the time, my house my rules and if you don’t like it there’s the door.
As I think back on everything that’s transpired in my life for the past forty years, I am thankful and I wouldn’t change any of it because it brought me to where I am today. My story has been used to inspire others. My daughter bears the name Alice, and I have no doubt Adele Alice Audrey Bacarro will live up to the honor of that name.
It’s been almost 15 years since she passed but I think about her all the time. Much of her strength I see reflected in my wife Sue. Tante Alice never got a chance to meet Sue, but I’d like to think that she would have approved.
Wow 40, I’m cool with it. Much has happened in the past 40 years but I still feel like I’m just starting. I want to thank my Tante Alice for giving me the chance to make it in life and I say cheers to the next 40-50-60 years!!!
Thanks for being along on the journey.