Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Daddy

Today marks the three year anniversary of my father's passing, he would have been 66 in 2 days.
I was his only daughter.

He had a lot of pet names for me.
He called me Pocahontas when I was in elementary school, because my hair was down to my waist and very unruly it had to be put back, he would brush my hair, put them in two braids and tell me to move along Pocahontas, and reminded me to keep my hair in those braids or I would be crying later from the knots. I was an ultimate tom boy and the hair would be down in a matter of hours.

When I was junior high age he called me his little CAP (catholic American princess), he said I knew what I wanted and I made sure I got it.

In high school he called me take me, bring me, buy me. I think you can figure that one out.

Funniest thing that happened: My father drove my brother home from work at the factory late at night. He pulled his van up to the house and right in front were two teenagers in a car kissing. My father said to my brother lets have fun with your sister and kept putting his brights on and off, until my brother who was hysterical, told him ummm dad that is not her.

I miss my 5:30am phone calls to him in his factory, when I knew he would be there all alone and I could tell him all about his grandchildren.
Tell him an off-color joke, and give him advice when warranted.

When his oldest Aunt, my grandmother's sister needed to be placed in a nursing home, he asked me to call my cousin Jerry and tell him what to do, because as he said I knew the system.

My father liked how I fought for my children, how I would not let the BOE walk all over them, he liked how I stood my ground and he always gave me moral support.
One day I was interviewed for a story on the news and he called me after it aired and said, hey pissed off, did you forget to comb your hair this morning. I was distracted by what you were saying by that nest on your head. I told him that maybe he needed to come over and brush it. He laughed at that.

So Dad, I am your daughter, I am just like you, loud, boisterous, and takes no prisoners. I know you are watching.


Pissed Off said...

I'm sure your dad was very proud of you. I hope he is still watching and still just as proud.

Ms. Tsouris said...

I can understand how you feel, having lost my feisty amusing father a little over a year ago. He was, along with my mother, an original who also was very outspoken. I miss the jokes, the silliness, and the political discussions. He balanced out my mother, who was just far too critical, dry, and serious, so it was good for my sister and me. He was a huge influence on my life too, and he was a staunch unionist and a leftist with my mother back in the '30's. I always lived that activist legacy having done tenant organizing, community organizing, and believing in unions, especially the charade of one I unfortunately belong to, the UFT. My father would have been disappointed. Your story about your brother was very funny. I'm glad that you have such good memories of your father and your family, and perhaps our dads ran into each other somewhere along their journeys....

Anonymous said...

July 25, 2007 Edition

Education Dept. Criticized Over Special Ed. Checks

BY ELIZABETH GREEN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
July 25, 2007
The state Education Department is coming under fire from attorneys from both inside and outside the agency who say it illegally denies educational services to hundreds of disabled children. Lawyers representing parents of disabled children are meeting today to discuss plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the agency at the center of the conflict, the Office of State Review.
At least seven of the 10 attorneys on staff have quit the State Review office in the last three years, including several who left because they were concerned about violations of law, sources familiar with the office said. One former staff member said nine attorneys had left the office. A spokesman for the state education department, Tom Dunn, could not immediately confirm the reports of the turnover. The review office is the last step in a process designed to supply an impartial decision on what services school districts should give disabled students, such as tutoring, aides, and private school tuition. Parents and school districts first make arguments before a hearing officer. The office rules only if either party wants to appeal the decision.
An analysis by a special education lawyer, Jeffrey Marcus, found that recent decisions have almost unanimously favored the districts: Between 2006 and March of this year, five of 43 cases where parents originally prevailed were upheld after school districts' appeals, and 37 of 39 successive cases favored the district completely.
Mr. Dunn traced the change to Supreme Court decisions that shifted the burden of persuasion and to changes in federal law. But several other sources said the office's head, Paul Kelly, who entered in 2003, is responsible.
A hearing officer who judges New York City cases, Lynn Almeleh, called Mr. Kelly's decisions "a very tortured reasoning to arrive at a predetermined conclusion."
A former staff member in the Office of State Review who requested anonymity said a main concern for Mr. Kelly was the cost services pose to school districts. Reimbursements for qualified private school tuition, for instance, cost New York City more than $49 million in the 2005–06 school year, a city Department of Education spokeswoman, Lindsey Harr, said. In trying to deny reimbursements, school districts often argue they can provide the same service in the public system, with no extra cost to taxpayers. On that line of argument, New York City is now appealing a reimbursement decision to the Supreme Court.
A special education lawyer who is leading the charge for a lawsuit, Andrew Cuddy, said a major concern is that the current decisions not become precedent.
Mr. Cuddy, who has written a book, "The Special Education Battlefield," yesterday sent a request to the state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, asking for an investigation. Criticisms of the office were first reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal.
July 25, 2007 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version