Sal loved watching all of the experiences of childhood through his children’s eyes. There is an enormous sense of awe and magic as they see the world through the prism of their innocence. It is more than refreshing for him to come home at night and have them regale he and Helen with their views and questions. They so trust the wonder of nature, and find charm and beauty in the simplest experiences.
John is the more physically active of Sal’s children, and his brother once referred to him as Felix Ungar from the play the “Odd Couple.”He is in constant motion, and thoroughly enjoys being a partner with his father in the attempts to plant and maintain their large garden,.It is a long way from the cobblestone streets of Jersey City to the rural setting of Florence, Massachusetts and Sal actually enjoys the work.One day it was time to fertilize the plants, and John ever Sal’s shadow in the garden had a quizzical look on his face while his father was doling out the fertilizer. Sal knelt down and asked “John is there something you want to ask me.”He furrowed his eyebrows and said”What are you putting on the plants?” He was not old enough to understand the word fertilizer, so Sal chose to explain it in terms he was sure he would understand. Sal said”John I am putting poo poo on the plants so that they will grow”. He smiled and his response made such sense and warmed Sal’s heart. “ So if I take a lot of poo poos I will grow.” So wonderful and literal, Sal let his understanding stay where it was.
Marisa is equally wonderful, but more pensive and reflective than John.She has genetically inherited her Mother’s hatred of the cold, and can be seen at the outdoor sessions at day care during winter with a total disdain for this part of her day. At this early age she asks great questions, and usually has a marvelous follow up to Sal’s first attempts to respond. A peek into her personality happened very early on when she took something that rightfully belonged to her brother.Sal’s first mode of having her give it back was a simple request.”Marisa please give that back to John.”This was met with absolutely no response as she tenaciously held on to the forbidden object. Sal then moved to the wondrous concept of sharing which once again fell on deaf ears. Finally in a strong tone he said’ Marisa you have two choices; give that back to John ,or I will take it from you and I will give it to John”. She looked at Sal with almost pity and said”I have three choices. I can give it to Mommy, and she can give it to John.” Sal knew then that this would not be the last Waterloo with this marvelous child.