By Tyler Mobley
A grandfather born in 1922 the year Mussolini seized control of Italy by uniting fascist groups in a march on Rome. Mussolini awaited the outcome of his command in Naples, however the capital siege went smoother than expected. King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign an order given by Prime Minister Luigi Facta to impose counter forces on the attack. Instead the Italian government said if you can’t beat them join them and surrendered to the fascist, making Mussolini the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history.
Luca Falcone grew up in the Adriatic countryside far from the piazzas where roaring crowds gathered to listen to their leader work himself up into a coronary of fascist propaganda. Mussolini’s charisma infected the masses with thin promises of empire at the expense of countless Ethiopian lives.
By 1940 Luca had had enough, with his younger sister in tow he fled Italy for a new life in America. Arriving at Ellis Island aboard The Rex, an Italian made steam powered ship that in 1933, won the blue ribbon for the fastest Westerly voyage across the Atlantic.
World War was underway, a pact with Hitler meant there was still hope for victory. Luca, nonplussed by a prideful Mussolini, when referring to politicians his quip that lives on today was, “they all the crook.” A philosophy that allowed him to see past the frantic crowds and smooth talk of his country’s leader, to follow his own dream to a new land an ocean away. Against the grain types listen to their heart and weigh out the options given by the head.
Luca would go on to enlist in the United States Army and see battle in Tunisia and Sicily. Upon return Luca made a life for himself, he married, started a business and had a family. Last to the party was my mother.
I remember him holding me in his arms while he cooked zucchini picked from his garden. He loved to trim the roses in the front yard. He did it, he lived the American Dream. I am forever grateful for the courage it took to leave it all behind to step into the unknown.
“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”
My father was adopted, though not in the normal sense, his mother remarried when he was only 4 years old so his step father is the one he calls dad. Though the man he sees in the mirror is Ellis Jump, a cad of his day left my grandmother a few years after my father was born.
When Ellis forfeited custody of his child there was no way he could’ve known that he’d go on to become an accomplished sculptor. He fled to Paris with a small black poodle where he’d stay for the next 5 years. Ellis bounced around apprenticing under giants of a booming art scene. He earned specialized skills he’d bring home to Ventura where he taught sculpture at the Community College for the next 37 years.
I knew him as a storyteller, the time in Bainbridge traffic when he used his croc slipper as a urine receptacle and poured it out the window. He could make anyone laugh, any bagger at check out he’d leave in stitches. I remember his smile surrounded by a fuzzy white beard.
If Ellis didn’t listen to whatever pulled him towards Europe where he was able to immerse himself in what became his passion, the world would be a different place.
Chaos theory accounts for the unrealized power of single events or decisions that bear no obvious correlation on later outcomes. Often it is fractional information that skews a system ever so slightly for things to fall a different way.
A seed carried in a breeze.