My dad worked as a tour guide in Rockefeller Center while he was a pre-med student at Columbia University. He knew John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who would ask him about his studies. As a child he would stand me before the tablet in Rockefeller Center and read to me the credo he believed in from a man he knew.
“I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.”
Life is a series of moments – and as time passes some moments are indelibly seared in our memory. Some moment we can plan for, but the ones that hit us on idle Wednesday are usually the most unexpected and significant.
The last time I saw him at the age of 25, I remember wishing he were young and vibrant like the photographs I had seen of him as a young man.
For all intent and purpose, I was raised by the grandfather I never had. Arthur Dante Louis Zampella was born to Filomna & Erminio Zampella in Jersey City, NJ in 1917. I was raised with an appreciation of a different era. The influences of fashion, music and history were from a different time. Something I would not fully appreciate until I grew older.
Time has a way of making you forget some things, but I can recall that moment 25 years ago as if it were yesterday. Standing beside his lifeless body and knowing that whatever life force that made the man I adored stir… was no longer with me or within him.
I dream sometimes that I see a figure in the distance on the grounds at Idylease. I think it is him as my mind is prone to play tricks on me. As I approach, it is not him… but rather a stranger. A painful reminder that he is no longer with me. He did not leave me willingly.
As I sit at Idylease on this eve of this anniversary. The words he spoke to me two days before he left
are still with me. “One day you will own Idylease and your vision for the property will become true.”
Most people I speak with that have lost a parent often tell you that there is no such thing as closure, or “getting over it”. Closure would mean forgetting the past and moving forward, For me, the loss itself reinforces my compassion, especially when I see others lose a loved one. Even though you may fill that void, you will never touch, or talk again. It becomes a part of who you are – like where you grew up or remembering reading a good book or a seeing a play.
We should always tell those close to us how we feel about them, even if they have heard it from us before. Tell them why you love them, speak with them like it’s the first time – and the last time.
– Richard Zampella
On the 25th Anniversary of the Death of
Arthur Dante Louis Zampella