About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day: Robert Cafarelli, 1919-2012


My Dad was born on October 1, 1919, and he passed away on April 18, 2012.  This is the eulogy I delivered at his funeral.  Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I still thank you for the days.

My Dad was an amazing man.  Yeah, everyone here already knows that, but I never get tired of saying it.  For me, for my brothers Art and Rob and my sister Denise, it has always been a great point of pride that our parents were Bob and Jean Cafarelli.  I remember my first visit to Yankee Stadium in 1972, and how Dad being who Dad was, the doors just magically opened for him wherever he went.  So we found ourselves in the Yankees locker room on Old Timer's Day, and we got to meet Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford and Dad's own hero, Joe DiMaggio.  One person there, puzzled by how a 12-year-old kid got into that locker room to begin with, asked me who I was.  Puffed up with pride, I answered, "I'm Bob Cafarelli's son."  There was a brief pause, and then the guy said, "Who's Bob Cafarelli?"

"Who's Bob Cafarelli?"  Can you imagine?  That's like saying you don't know who Santa Claus is.  Here in Syracuse, everyone knew Bob Cafarelli.  Doors opened for him everywhere he went, and people greeted him everywhere he went, and people were always happy to see him, everywhere he went.  He wasn't famous, he wasn't rich, but he was more important around here than any celebrity you could name. Everyone loved Turnaround Bob, and they loved him for who he was:  a hard-working, gentle, generous, loving and outgoing man who always, always gave his best to everyone and everything.  And he'd do it, always, with a joke, with a smile, and with a song.  Doors opened for him because he had earned the respect, the admiration and appreciation of so many people who loved him.

So my brothers and sister and I always felt special that this was our Dad.  But it turned out that we weren't the only ones who could call him Dad.  He was Dad to my wife Brenda.  He was Dad to Art's wife Patti.  He was Dad to Rob's wife Barb, and to Denise's husband Tony.  There was never any such thing as "in-laws"--just family.  And family expanded in all directions:  Dad called my Mom's parents "Mom and Dad," and he meant it.  My Mom's brother and sister, my Uncle Carl and Aunt Betty, were likewise my Dad's brother and sister, and so were their spouses, my Aunt Jo and Uncle Charlie.  There are no dividing lines in family.  It didn't matter if you were a Cafarelli, Ventura, Williams, Huniford, Bubniak, Walker, Dees, Nuremberg, or any other name, because the names didn't matter; they never mattered.  You were family.  I learned that from my Dad.  And if you weren't family, but you were still hanging around, well then, you were a friend, and friends are just like family.  I learned that from my Dad, too.

As his final act of generosity, Dad left his organs to anatomical research, so that others may still benefit--another gift from the man with the biggest heart Syracuse has ever seen.  When my Dad got sick, and people came to visit and chat and hear his stories one more time, many of them would look at me and say, "You look just like your Dad."  And that is the nicest thing that anyone could ever say to me.  What could be better than being like Bob Cafarelli?  What an amazing man.  What an amazing, exceptional man.  And he was my Dad.

As we say goodbye, I find myself thinking a lot about the words to a beautiful, beautiful song written years ago by a man named Ray Davies.  This is called "Days."

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
I won't forget a single day, believe me

I bless the light
I bless the light that lights on you, believe me
And though you're gone
You're with me every single day, believe me

Days I'll remember all my life
Days when you can't see wrong from right
You took my life
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me
But it's all right
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me

I wish today could be tomorrow
The night is dark, it just brings sorrow
Let it wait

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
I won't forget a single day
Believe me

Thanks, Dad