I got my love of books from my dad. My father, John Taglieri, grew up in an Italian immigrant family during the depression, the youngest child in a family of ten. His dad, Roger, owned a barber shop on Chicago’s south side. His mom, Assunta, cared for the large brood. As the baby of the family, Dad was his mamma’s boy. Dad loved to read and he loved adventure books most of all. Tarzan, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and his favorite, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. He spent his summer evenings reading on the porch until it was too dark to see.
Some of my earliest memories are of Dad tucking me into bed, then sitting at my bedside to tell me bedtime stories. The Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella. I couldn’t sleep unless Dad told me a fairy tale. Lying in the dark, listening to his soft voice charged my imagination and made me love fairy tales and fantasy. Dad often told me stories about his life too. About the hardships of growing up in a large family during the depression. About being picked on by his older brothers. He told about serving in the Army Air Force in the Pacific during World War II. He told his stories over and over until I knew them all by heart.
I grew up and started writing stories of my own. I wrote my fantasy trilogy and let Dad read the first two books. It meant so much to me when he told he liked them. Every daughter wants her father to be proud of her. I was reworking the third book of the trilogy when Dad started fading. On a snowy midnight, the second day of March, 2007, at the age of 86, Dad passed away, with the extended family who loved him gathered all around. I held his hand and whispered good-bye. I think about him all the time and often wish I had the chance to hear more about his life. I wish I could ask his opinions about the events of the day or hear one of those old army stories one more time. And I regret that he never got to see how my trilogy ended.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.