I remember when my mom passed away back in 1990 it took me several years to get back to some sense of normalcy as I had gone through a deep depression and it was my dad and I who became much closer and my relationship with my dad became very strong and he was a tremendous inspiration and helped me to learn important values and to prepare for things I did not know would ever happen for me such as marriage and fatherhood. I was so happy that he was here to meet my wife Maria and our son Matthew.
As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday with my wife, son and mother-in-law I was thinking of my mom and dad and felt that dad was now happy to finally be reunited with mom. They have been apart for so long and they are now back together in eternal peace.
As I thought of my dad I was touched by an e-mail that came from a mother of a 13 year old boy who is in middle school and is reading a non fiction book for his 8th grade English class. The book his mother suggested he read, titled the Bridge is written by an author who met with my dad to write a chapter in the book of his experience working on the Verrazano bridge. The author is Gay Talese and the chapter in the book centers around 2 men and a brief introduction of their lives up until that fateful day working on the Verrazano Bridge in 1963. The 2 men are Gerard McKee and my dad, Edward D. Iannielli Jr. They were working together and had parted to do their respective jobs and as my dad continued tightening the rivets he heard Gerard calling for my dad in distress. When my dad turned to Gerard he saw he was barely hanging on for dear life to the cable and my dad screamed Oh God! and tried to reach to grab hold of him but Gerard was a big man weighing over 200 lbs and my dad weighed 138 lbs and had a crippled hand and as he tried to pull him up he did not have the strength to do so and as he felt him slipping through his grip all he could do was picture my mom and me as a little baby and he saw Gerard fall to his death. The quick actions of an Indian by the name of Lloyd LeClaire helped save my dad from falling as he jumped on top of my dad to keep him tight to the catwalk. He saved my dad’s life.
As I read Maria’s e-mail I was moved and was reminded how special my dad was and how he has touched the lives of others. She really made me feel good and she helped ease the sadness I feel and I was so touched by her kind words and her reaching out to me and my family to acknowledge my dad and to share his story with her son. She really made my day and for that I am very appreciative and would certainly share stories of my dad with them. She also enjoyed reading the story I wrote about my father and son and his visits to help Matthew build his Lego skyscrapers. I was very lucky to have my dad in Matthew’s life and the one thing that stands out in my mind of their relationship was my dad’s feelings on Matthew and autism. He never treated Matthew differently and he always made my son smile and feel good and always was there for him and cherished their times together working on lego buildings and just hanging out. It was wonderful and we do miss him so much and realize we do have to move on but can still cherish the memories and always remember those special times.
Dad, you see how people appreciate what you did! This is for you because you touch people’s lives and Maria and her son and their kindness is so precious and is a wonderful gift and I wanted to share this with you because you are so special to all of us! Thank you Dad! We Love you and miss you very much! Give mom a big hug and kiss for us. We love and miss you both! Happy Thanksgiving!
Your loving son and family.
Edward D. Iannielli III
Matthew Edward Iannielli
Mama Terri (Terisita Gonzales)