By: judithdisalvo | June 16, 2017

My father wasn’t perfect but he was the perfect father for me. Carl DiSalvo was religious, conservative, and strict. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or date until I was 16-years-old. Little did he know, my unconventional, bohemian, fun-loving mom helped me circle those issues so I could avoid being a social Neanderthal in high school. I spent nights out on the weekends allot! I felt like Dad was trying to prepare me for the convent instead of the business he would one day want me to help run. He was also very generous and kind. He didn’t say “I love you” much but his actions spoke volumes.

After he served his country in WWII as a flight engineer, my dad began his career as a used car salesman, eventually partnered with the owner, then bought the entire dealership. He worked day and night to provide for me and my family. He taught me to be independent (kind of ironic since I thought he was grooming me to become a nun), to use my brain, and to navigate life with integrity and honesty. If you said something, you'd better mean it. It was those ethics that created his success and built DiSalvo Jeep/Chrysler into one of the most successful automobile dealerships in the country. Everyone knew you could trust Carl DiSalvo. And so could I. I miss him. He was always there for me even though most of the time I didn’t like what he had to say. Yet nine times out of ten, he was right. He was smart, generous, kind, and his wicked sense of humor continued to surprise even me, up to his last breath.

I’ve also been blessed with a remarkable father-in-law, Martin Hennessey, who is cut from the same cloth as my father. He too served in WWII and raised what seems to have been two families—starting out with 4 sons then followed by 5 girls—with his saint of a wife, Vestal, behind the great man. Family was first and with one so large he worked hard to build up a very successful heavy-equipment business, Hennessey Forrestal. As a young man, he cruised around, visiting his customers, handing out Dutchmaster cigars and Juicy Fruit gum. This strategic sales tactic made him extremely popular. His business and family flourished. He also carried lollipops which he gave to all of his children and later grandchildren, thus gaining the nickname that has stuck: Lollipops!

Vestal, Martin, Judith and Timothy Hennessey
Vestal, Martin, Judith and Timothy Hennessey

Lollipops mirrors my fathers love of the great outdoors. Both owned farms, got a kick out of driving their tractors, riding horses (okay, my dad sat in a jeep to explore the woods) and spending long summer days barbecueing for their kids and friends.

My dad never smoked but you can be sure Lollipops had a good cigar and a martini to add another layer of relaxation to those fun days spent in the country. Good times and good memories. Seventeen years ago, this generous, funny, and playful man impressed me when he pinched my behind and winked after my husband Timothy introduced me at a family party (in the city, no cigar but certainly a martini). I was not offended, in fact, I was flattered. He knew I understood that he liked me and he understood I would never mistake his playfulness as an insult. It is who he is, and continues to be, forever young and a man that likes to stir it up. He loves his family and friends. Lollipops has been so kind to me and my son. I am so very grateful to feel loved by not just one, but two fathers. J

Happy Father’s Day. Dads!!!!