C'est La Vie
Armando D. is a tailor and a good friend who came to this country in 1956 on the Andrea Doria. As a grasshopper I remember the tragic sinking of this ship since it took place off the Atlantic coast not far from my childhood home. Armando must have been on its previous voyage from Naples to NY City in 1956. A friend with whom I worked introduced me to him around 1975. Whenever we needed dry cleaning or alterations, Armando was where I brought our clothes. When a boy in Naples, his father taught him to sew. Armando is a humble soul with a great skill. I used to go to his shop to watch world cup soccer. Gli Azzurri were his pride and disappointment too. When they failed to qualify for the cup in 2018 for the first time in decades, he just threw up his hands. He and wife, Juanita, started their business in 1964 on a still sketchy stretch of Clinton Avenue in Albany NY. They would charge me very little for the work that they did so I would bring them food items from a local Italian import store. I had not been to the store in quite a while. I used to pass by on Mondays usually and they are closed on that day. They were closed completely for a 6 month period during the pandemic. I found Juanita at the store walking with a can and holding down the fort. She greeted me fondly when she saw me walk through the door. She told me that Armando was diagnosed with Parkinson's and had taken a few falls. He was in the VA Hospital for a bit and is now in a facility in Rensselaer County. I told her to tell him that I ask for him and she told me that he probably would not know whom she was talking about. He has a neighbor with the same last name. It made me more than a little sad that I will never see and talk to him again. One day he told me that some family members and he had purchased some land near Naples years ago. It was inexpensive and he had all but forgot about it. Then he learned that the land was now in a highly valued area and was worth considerably more than the purchase price. His relatives sold the land and made a tidy profit. Armando received nothing. He did not carry on like I might have. He only told me that money is more important to many people than family or friendship.
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