I am the son of an iron worker and I am truly amazed at all the work my father has done in his life. He was a very humble person and just did his job with complete dedication and pride. He loved what he did and he did it with all his heart and soul. He always worked hard at every job he was involved in, and when he got home he was exhausted. When my father was a young child growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he would always look forward to the time his father would invite his ironworker friends to the house. My father was inspired by his father, who was a proud iron worker, and loved listening to his father and his ironworking friends talk about their jobs and the buildings they worked on. My grandfather was one of the ironworkers involved in the construction of Shea Stadium in the early 1960s, when my father worked on the Verrazano Bridge. My grandfather worked in his early 60s as an iron worker until he fell into a work accident in 1972. He survived, but he was injured pretty badly and it was the end of his working days. He would die within a few years of the accident and it was very difficult for my father and family, but my father managed to coax himself and devote himself to his family and his iron career.
My father was never afraid of high iron and his nickname was "rabbit" because he would run on the beams and he was very fast. He was always able to do his job and get through the workday because his family depended on him and he was always aware of what he needed to do his job. He always made sure he was safe and would never risk being stupid. He did everything with precision and thought before acting. He had steel nerves and was proud of what he did.
My father shared stories with us growing up from his experience, and one such story he told was when he was a young man of 22, 1957, when he was working as an intern, and it was his responsibility that older iron workers get coffee and soda snacks both in the morning and in the afternoon. He went to a local money shop with a rounded iron shop and would place an order there and make sure he had everything before he left. While carrying pots of hot coffee, cakes and baking soda, he would climb the stairs leading to the work area slightly, and as he approached the top he lost his balance and slid falling to the canvases from the lower happiness level to find that he was fine, but sprinkled with hot coffee . When one of the older ironworkers saw what had happened, he called to my father, asking him if he was okay, and he replied that he was, but he relented. Then the iron worker exclaimed to him, "I'm glad you're okay, but you better go get some coffee." The fallen father returned running down the stairs to buy another coffee and snacks from his own money, this time making up for the crew making sure everyone got their own coffee, snack and soda. My father always made sure that he did the right thing and that earned him a great reputation. After years of learning from older ironworkers, he became an experienced ironman with a following.
One of my father's most fortunate accomplishments was working on the Verrazano Bridge on which he spent nearly 4 years and lived many happy and sad experiences there. On the bridge, my father saw one of his friends fall to his death, which really had a great impact on him for years to come. It was something he lived with and dealt with, but was very sad about the event. He was a smaller man 5 and 7 "weighing 135 lbs, and his counterpart 6", weighing 200 pounds. It was a day he would never forget because he had just finished talking to him and within minutes he heard him shouting in his name. As my father turned in the direction of screams, he watched in horror when he realized that his friend was holding on for dear life, and my father struggled to pull him away, but the weight and damaged arm my father had from a work accident was too much to do save him. As he passed my father's arms, my father also prepared to cross, but another ironman quickly took action by jumping on top of his father and holding him in position, saving his life.
We were truly indebted to a fellow iron worker who saved my father's life. Another sad day that my father recalled while working on the bridge was that fatal day in November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was another surreal experience and my father was deeply saddened and shocked to find out. As word spread, ironworkers were told to stop and go home out of respect for our assassinated president.
In my life, my father worked at the Verrazano Bridge, the World Trade Center, the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan, the WR Grace Building in Manhattan, the Citibank Building in Long Island City, the homes of Brooklyn Court, John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, New York. where my sister and I and her son graduated from many hospitals, schools and buildings.
A heartwarming story to share that explains how much I loved my husband, father, and dedicated ironworker based on a subsequent interview my father had with a very famous author years later. Gay Talese has written many great books in his career and used the time to chronicle the experiences of the ironworkers who worked and built the Verrazano Bridge in the early 1960s in his book Bridge. He had several interviews with my father. It was first performed during the construction of the Verrazano Bridge after the tragic death of a fellow ironworker that my father desperately tried to save but failed.
After the death of my mother in 1990, my father lost and lonely, and the only thing he had beside us in his corner were his iron working skills which he still relied on in his early to mid-50s. He returned to work on the Verrazano Bridge in 1991 to 1992 to repair work and felt great when he returned to where he started as a young man in his mid-20s. While working on the restoration and red lead paint he went to the very top of the tower and in the sign of his wife, my mom typed her name with her work gloves, Catherine in color and looked up to see Staten Island views from Brooklyn clearly remembered that it was again it was 1963 so he wiped his forehead, shed a tear, said a prayer and went back to work. Gay Talese was very moved by this, so he added this to the reissue of the original book and added that my father was dealing with a tragic World Trade Center incident that my father helped build in the early 1970s. s. I also had tears in my eyes as I read this and how I knew how much my dad loved my mom and my 2 sisters and I. He was a great man and I am so proud to know that Mr. Gay Talese took the time to get to know my father and share a little about him in his work and his experiences and write about all the great men and women involved in the construction of the Verrazano Bridge.
I am always amazed to see everything my dad was a part of and have such pride and respect for him and all the iron workers who build cities and risk their lives every day. Iron workers almost never get the respect or pay they deserve. In an age where baseball players receive excessive salaries to play a game I enjoy, I feel that is unfair. I will express my opinion on this simple but meaningful quote as follows: "The next time you cheer a baseball player at home in a ball park and recognize them as a hero, think of the iron workers who sacrificed their lives in building that playground for adult men to play the game. "" Iron workers build those bales and skyscrapers that are real heroes, and they should be compensated as such for their hard work that seems to be taken for granted. "
I am so proud of my father who always did his best for his iron work and he leaves a part of himself in everything he did and I am glad to say that I am his son.
(*) – son (I am proud of my father and I gave birth to a boy and gave him his name, but I am a transgender person who identifies as a girl and that has been my lifelong struggle of 4 years). Out of respect for my father, I'm a son.