Sal was one of the best people I have had the pleasure in my life to have known. He was sweet and funny. He was clever and sensitive. He was smart and creative. He was my friend.
Sal and Gina were my mom’s dearest friends. They grew up together in the Bronx and then raised their kids together there until my family moved to Suburban New Jersey. Periodically, Gina would escape Sal and her kids and come just for the day to see us and laugh with my mom. We saw Sal less during that time period, but whenever we did, he lit up to see us. His smile from ear to ear made his eyes disappear, and his cheeks turn red.
Sal was a Tin Can Sailor in WWII, enlisting when he was just nineteen years old. Tin Can Sailor is a term used for The National Association of Destroyer Veterans in the United States. He loved to tell us stories of the ship he was on and the lifelong friends he made on the USS Grayson DD435. He wore a cap with the same written on it his whole life long.
When my mom moved to a retirement community, they would visit her each summer on their way to Cape May. I tried to visit at the same time so my girls would have the pleasure of knowing Gina and Sal. And they did know them. Not ever knowing my dad, Sal became their surrogate Grandpa. He taught Jill how to swim and loved them as if they were his own.
When my daughters went to college, they each chose Fordham University in the Bronx, knowing they would be close to family. We visited more frequently then, occasionally taking Gina and Sal to Arthur Avenue for lunch with us.
Time moves too fast.
Gina and Sal had four wonderful sons. Philip, the eldest died as a young man and Louis too young of cancer. Louis’ stepson, Michael, is their grandchild. The boys took great care of their parents and continue to care for Gina, now past ninety and a bit lost without Sal.
Sal lived into his late eighties and when he died Jill, my youngest, had this done in his memory.
Robert, Sal’s youngest child, was married a year later for the first time.
A year after that, Sal’s grandson was born to Robert and his wife Laila.
They named him Alexander Grayson.
I designed this blanket for him in memory of Sal, my friend.