Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sean, Go See The World

My parents.  I can't begin to think about what to say about my parents.  They are my two best friends and really the only two individuals that have been with me through my best times, and even more during my worst times.  My parents, John and Beth Kennedy, both grew up in two completely different parts of the country: my Mother in Detroit and my Father in New York City.  They have always instilled in my mind that the United States, and subsequently, the world is a big and beautiful place, and too never be afraid to explore and reach beyond the boundaries of where I grew up because some may argue that my hometown, Vineland, is much like a black hole, where as if you stay around too long, one shall be sucked in by its immense pull and you'll never get out.  Although I have met so many great people throughout my days here, I feel as though it is finally time to branch out towards the light that this country, and the world both have to offer me.  Here is my story about my parents:

My mother was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 8th, 1962.  She was one of 4 siblings: 1 sister, 1 half-sister, and 1 half-brother.  Her mother was an ordinary worker, but was very intelligent. Her father was an engineer for GM, but both passed away before I was born and it has made growing up with no grandparents a really tough experience because I've watched my peers grow up having there's around.  Her father died of cancer of the liver from consuming alcohol, but she has always told me he was a calm, loving man. Because of the cause of his death, I have been haunted in the back of my mind about the thought of dying of cancer from alcoholism, which is why I do not drink.  My mother is extremely intelligent, but grew up poor as a result of her parents splitting while she was but a child.  As a result, she never got to go to college right out of high school although she was number 1 in her high school class.  This is the reason why i reach out to so many intelligent, but underprivileged young Americans because not everyone is so fortunate in a world where its not what you know, but who you know and how much money you have.  My mother has been working since she was about 15, give or take a year.  My mother doesn't really talk about her childhood much because she says she forgets a lot, but i think she just chose to forget it because it wasn't that great for her, yet now her happiness comes from seeing her children succeed in life, while at the same time caring for people who's fight with death is a losing battle, so as a Hospice Nurse, she treats people with compassion while they slowly lose their breathe of life.  After high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

We'll continue this journey with my Father, John F. Kennedy who was born on July 7th, 1961, a year and a day apart from my Mother.  My parents named me after his best man, Sean, in addition to his cousin Sean Mannion who is a Hollywood Prop Master.  At the same time, Sean is equivalent to John in Ireland, or so I am told.  My dad was born in Manhattan, but later moved to Elmont in Long Island, New York.  He was raised by his father and step-mother, and has one blood brother, and 2 half siblings one of which is a female and one male.  His maternal Mother committed suicide when he was two years old yet he didn't know his step-mom was not his real Mom until he asked for his Birth Certificate to enter the military.  He just found out where she was buried last year after a complete stranger found his number somehow and reached out to him, and in the process, he found out how beautiful and great she really was.  His maternal mother was a German immigrant who came to the United States to live with her relatives around the time The Nazi's were taking power in the Fatherland.  My father grew up in an average low middle class home, where my step-grandmother tried to maintain the perfect American family where everything seemed peachy on the outside, but on the inside it was a broken home within.  My dad grew up in a home where no one was allowed to have an opinion that differed from his step-mother, and if he did, his father would come home and beat him for it.  In hindsight, it was certainly wrong for him to be abused, but at the same time, that was the social norm for discipline when children act out at that time.  My father had to quit playing sports after his Freshman year of high school because his parents told him he had to get a job.  As a result, he has been working since he was 14-15, where his first two jobs were at a Grocery Store and a bakery where he used to carry 100 pound bags of flour up a flight of stairs his whole shift.  At the age of 17, my Father enlisted in the Air Force as well.  

Now that one has a little insight about the lives of my parents up until this point, I'll now move onto how they met.  My parents met in England back in the early 1980's.  My father worked as a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force  and worked on Fighter Jets and B-52's, while my my Mother worked as the Head Air Traffic Controller.  She said, to her, it was like playing a game of don't let the airplanes hit.  Although this sounds pretty alarming, my Mother is hard working, intelligent, and the caring person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Back in the early 1980's, it was an unfamiliar sight seeing a woman in charge of anything, yet she was and is the type of person that always has to be in control or gain control of any situation so that nothing bad happens.  I guess that is where I get that quality from.  Nonetheless, my parents lived across the street from one another's barracks.  My parents met one night at a party.  According to my Mom, my Dad was sitting on a cooler, and she sat down next to him.  Because he was shy and intoxicated, my Dad supposedly initiated the conversation in the wrong way and my Mother ran off in disgust which doesn't seem like an implausible circumstance considering she does the same thing today if you upset her.  As a result, the next day, my Dad saw my Mother out in public, and apologized to her for his drunken antics, and from there on it was love at second sight lol.  

My parents went on to travel Europe together.  They visited so many places and took so many pictures, that there are 2-3 full picture albums in the basement and a house full of pictures from all of the amazing landmarks that are scattered across Europe.  When visiting Holland, my parents visited the house of refuge that Anne Frank and her family resided in and they also bought a matching pair of wooden clogs which I have tried to wear several times, and I don't know how any human being can enjoy wearing such painful shoes.  They visited Paris, France and have pictures of the Eiffel Tower, and even bought a miniature one which I still remember using for a show-and-tell project in 6th grade in Mrs. Lelli's class.  My Dad used to always tell me about how he was able to memorize the English Underground and how he used to laugh at all the people getting seasick on the Ferry across the English Channel between England and France, although he said it took some getting used to before he got the hang of the rough seas.  

This world is such a beautiful place.  Although I've only traveled around the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas in my short 24 years, I have seen so many beautiful pictures from my parents, my friends on Facebook, and even just by searching the internet for whatever reason I may have had at that particular moment in my life.  My Dad loves nature, and takes a million pictures of everything he sees within it, but my Mother says that he loved nature so much, he always forgot to take pictures of my sisters and I.  As a result, we have a ton of pictures of trees, buildings, and icons, but very few of me lol.  Now that I look back on that, I look on the bright side and realize if he didn't have a love for nature, he would have never passed it down to me.  In conclusion, I hope I get to witness the beauty of what the world has to offer, and finally take my Mother to Rome and my Dad to Venice, for I promised them that I would do whatever it takes to fulfill their dreams just as they did for me!

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