"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

One father, one dad, different men

By on May 25, 2020 in Uncategorized with 1 Comment
A picture of Alex’s mom and dad taken in August of 1943, just before he shipped out to the war in the Pacific.
Alex’s biological father.

The questions raised by a DNA test still linger on this Father’s Day

By Alex Saliby

My dad was Alexander Saliby, Jr. His name is on my birth certificate. I was his son. 

At his funeral, the honor guard gave me the American Flag, which had been on his coffin. We lived in the same home until the divorce. I was 9 when they divorced; I was 48 at dad’s funeral. 

We remained in contact throughout the years of his life. Alexander Saliby is and was my dad. 

My father was Luigi Joseph Resciniti who lived in Binghamton, NY, the town where I was born. 

Some of you may recall from my The Good Life story in the November issue of 2016, that my DNA test came back with shocking news — my dad was not my father. 

Rather, my father was a man who worked at the family cleaners next door to the laundry where my mother worked when they were both late teens to early 20s — a fact that nobody breathed a word to me previously. 

While I was unaware of his existence way back then, he, on the other hand, knew I was there. 

That last sentence is the thought that bothered me most of all when I learned through Ancestry.com he was my biological father. 

Up front, I confess, I was angry and a little confused. I had dozens of questions to ask him. 

The most troubling question was why? Why, if he knew about me, did he not come to see me?

Funny, how time brings a new dimension to issues of the past. 

I have a different feeling toward the man now. I’ve learned some things about him from several of my newly found cousins and my sister Violet. 

What’s that poem by Alexander Pope?

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

When all I had was the knowledge that Luigi J. Resciniti was my biological father, I had in fact only a little learning. 

The more I drank at that Pierian Spring and dug into learning more and more about the man, the better I felt knowing the truth about my genetic background, and the more respect and admiration I had for the man who fathered me. 

Some time ago, pondering the question: He knew where I was, and he knew I was his son; why didn’t he come to visit me? I felt some strange comfort in pondering the reason why and out of nowhere in the dark recesses of my small brain, I felt I knew why he didn’t visit.

The mother of his son was married to another man, and as far as he knew and could tell, she was happy in that relationship. His visits would have amounted to a major disruption in her life. 

To the outside world — and he was an outsider — we were a growing and content family. By 1942, the year my father joined the Army, my Saliby family grew to four, two sons and two parents. When the war ended in 1945, and my father returned from Europe, we became a family of five, three sons and two parents. 

And for all intents and purposes, we were a happy family. 

Coming to grips with that idea had an enormous affect on my outlook, on my opinion on my feelings for the man who fathered me. 

How could I not fully respect the kindness of his behavior? 

I mean, to me, only some bobble-headed jerk showing off his muscles and his masculinity would have acted without care and consideration for the woman with whom he had fathered a child.

He wasn’t ignoring me — he was protecting me and my mother in our family relationship.

My father, though, kept track of me. He knew I had been moved to New Jersey after mom and dad divorced. 

Why didn’t he come to visit me in New Jersey? 

That one’s easy for me to answer. My father married in 1947 and had the responsibilities of the family and his business ventures, not to mention helping his widowed mother at the business. 

I still have a great many questions I’d like to ask him. They will all remain unanswered.  My father died in 1968 at the young age of 51.  

However, I respect and admire that he built his own family and prospered as a small-business man, a husband, a father, and an uncle to a great many cousins, and sibling to his brothers and sisters. 

In any event, it’s Father’s Day month, and I simply wish to hug both my Dad Alexander, and my Father Luigi and wish them both a very happy Father’s Day, and to thank them both for the who and the what I am. 

While I am a Resciniti genetically, I am a Saliby by up-bringing and family environment. 

Love to both of you, your son Alexander. 

 Alex Saliby retired from writing about wine in 2018 and now, simply enjoys the pleasures of retirement and responding to “Honey Do’s,” of course.

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  1. David Mica says:

    Hi Alex
    I read your story with great interest and learned you are my cousin! I know you have been welcomed to the family and wished I could have been at the first meeting with the group of family. I want to add my welcome from my branch of your clan. The Resciniti heritage is one I am very proud of and as you learn more about them I believe you also will strongly embrace this as you seem to already have. It is a big family tree with blessed descendants across the globe. I am the baby of the Mica family and my mother Adeline Resciniti Mica was your father Lou’s sister. As the baby and as as our family had moved to Florida when I was a baby I regretfully have little memories of your father Lou . I do remember being with him a few times on trips to Binghamton and like all my Uncles and Aunts he was exceptionally kind. I remember him taking me in his truck fishing once to a spot he liked on the banks of a river. It is interesting all these decades later that I remember it was a great and special day with my Uncle Lou! I also remember how much my mom and day loved your father and how they spoke of his kind caring and sweet nature.
    I really enjoyed the positive nature of your writing and what appears to reflect a life thus far that has been well lived. My best to you and yours.
    I hope that we may meet and welcome you to come see us in Florida.
    Your cousin
    David Mica

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