Sometimes it needs to be recognized for what it is…a long time. Later this year, when I turn 60, I’m sure I’ll think differently. But not today. Today 60 is a big number. Today my parents celebrate 60 years of marriage. Sixty years ago today they said, “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, ’til death do us part.” They were committed to that promise and they’ve experienced every aspect of those words hand-in-hand. They were raised during an era when nothing was thrown away. It was fixed. And that’s what they’ve done. They’ve ‘fixed’ their marriage over and over again until they got it right.
I hope you will forgive this updated repost. Their story hasn’t changed. They are still a very big deal…
Today’s blog is a story of tribute and triumph. A story of two unlikely people that came together out of need and love and created a family, a legacy that will survive long after they’ve gone. Today’s blog is for and about my parents…
My Dad is Rocco Sicurello. The son of Italian immigrants, he was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. His mother passed away when he was ten, his dad seven years later. When he was 18 he met my Mom.
Mom is Charlotte Moon. Her dad’s family can be traced back to Edward Winslow on the Mayflower and even further to King Edward I. (Don’t be too impressed. Edward I was also known as “Long Shanks”. He was not a nice king. He killed William Wallace, a.k.a. Braveheart.) Her mom was born and raised in Canada and worked hard to become a U.S. citizen. Mom was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She is of Irish descent with just enough German to keep it interesting. Her parents divorced when she was five. Mom lived in Newark for most of the year, spending her summers in Pennsylvania.
Dad was born in March of 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression. Eleven months after Mom was born the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and we entered World War II. Trying times, but ones that would create a foundation of strength for them both.
They first laid eyes on each other when my Dad would drive his 1939 Buick past her apartment on his way to work. They waved to each other. She was a fair-skinned, blue-eyed, redhead. Dad was olive-skinned, or as he likes to refer to himself, ‘gladiator bronzed‘, brown-eyed, and dark haired. She was a Protestant. He was a Catholic. In most ways they were total opposites, but there was something that drew them to each other.
One day he stopped and asked her to go out with him. He got my grandmother’s permission and they took the bus to New York City to see a movie, The Robe, at the Roxy theater. Then they had dinner. It was October 13, 1953. Mom says even then they knew they would one day be married.
Soon after their first date, Dad joined the Navy and they wrote to each other.
On January 10, 1959, they married. Dad was 23, Mom would be 18 the following day. People said it wouldn’t last. They didn’t know my parents.
Ten months after they were married, I was born. I was followed by two sisters and one brother. As you can imagine, an Italian, Irish, and German household with four kids and three adults; my grandmother lived with us, was not a quiet one. What was a normal tone of voice for us, was yelling for anyone else. But, we were raised well, and we were taught to do right, and we were loved.
Life was not easy for my parents, both had come from broken homes at a time when that was not the norm and in many ways they grew up as they raised us. They are both strong-willed and determined; that, too, would serve them well. Dad’s way of showing his love was to work hard and provide for his family, which he did. Mom’s was to stay at home and provide for and raise their children, which she did.
In 1975, Mom became a Christian. Each of her children followed her lead. Dad, too, though quietly and in his own time. This month, on January 10th, they will celebrate 59 years together, years of tragedy and triumph, adversity and blessing, work and joy. Years that their Savior drew them together and held them close. Years that they’ve held tightly to His hand.
A legacy that they’ve passed on to us all.
They are a very big deal…