In 1892 when my father was 5 years old, an Aunt and Uncle brought him to the United States from Portugal for what was to be a short visit, but which lasted until he was 12 years old.
They settled in New London, Ct in a house next door to a family with five sons and to whom a daughter was to be born when my father was ten years old.This baby girl became my mother. But that was long in the future and much was to take place in my father's life before that happened.
While he lived there he spent most of his time with the family next door. He played and went to school with the boys and became happily adjusted to the American way of life.
After 7 years, his Aunt and Uncle decided to return to Portugal and he had to go with them. He was most unhappy to return to the small fishing village where his only future seemed to be that of a fisherman. His father, a fisherman, had drowned three months before my father was born. You can imagine his unhappiness at the prospect of such a future. Seeing how unhappy he was and to placate him, his mother asked the Village Priest to see what he could teach him.
The Priest taught him French and Latin and how to serve at Mass and saw what an intelligent boy he was and suggested to the family that they send him to the Seminary to become a priest. My Father didn't have the "calling" to be a praiest, but was anxious for an education and a way out of the bleak future that faced him, so he agreed to go. All of his family chipped in to raise the money to send him there
. Once there, he realized what a huge commitment this was and how oppressive the studies were and he begged his mother to let him come home. It was a great honor for there to be a priest in the family and his mother refused his pleas, reminding him of the sacrifices his family had made for him. So at the age of 22 my father was ordained a Priest.
When he was 26 he returned to the United States and visited the family he had been such an intimate part of. The little girl who was born when he was 10 years old was now a beautiful 16 year old. He never went back to Portugal. He left the priesthood and two years later, when she was 18 and he 28, they were married. They had 5 children. I was their 4th.
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