Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Look Back: The Life of Daniel F. Ford
Chapter 1: Before I Was Born

Before there was Sid Sanford, there was Daniel Ford.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve drifted dangerously close to becoming more like my alter ego than I ever imagined possible. And for those of you who know anything about Sid, that isn’t a positive thing.

However, thanks to family and friends—as well as the occasional lover—I have put my past mistakes firmly behind me and have been more of the good man I started out to be. I don’t intend on ever being any other man ever again.

The biggest takeaway from everything I’ve gone through is the belief that life is a series of moments that should never be taken for granted. All of the good—and bad—things that happen to us are there to mold us into the individual we were always meant to be. I know on my deathbed that I will not regret the things I didn’t do, but cherish all of the things I did—both positive and negative.

During this process of self-discovery, I combed through my personal archives to get a sense of the person I was, in order to understand the person I am. I unearthed an autobiography I was assigned to write in the 8th grade. For the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing one chapter of the book at a time. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to rediscovering the real Daniel Ford with all of you.


Life. To me, life is just one obstacle after another. You have to stand tall and face them head-on. There are sometimes—to our dismay—when these obstacles of life seem too hard to overcome. Don’t stop fighting for one minute until the obstacle has been defeated. I know from personal experience that if you don’t, that obstacle will become so large it will roll over you. Ironically, without these trivial obstacles life would be meaningless. We, as people, need to have obstacles to have purposes or goals. We, as people, all have a story. This is my story. This is my story of a 14-year-old meaningless existence with a handful of obstacles that made my life every bit complete.


Chapter 1: Before I Was Born

I don’t know much about my ancestors, but what I do know I find interesting. My mother’s family came from Canada in the 1800s (editorial note: I’m not sure, but I’m pretty convinced I made this up). The possibly came to America to find a better life with better opportunities like most immigrants. My Mémère’s family settled in Frenchville, Maine. My Pépère’s family settled in St. Agatha, Maine, which is not that far from Frenchville (editorial note: after talking to my mother, it's the other way around).

On my father’s side of the family, my ancestors came from Ireland and Germany. My grandfather’s family came from Ireland, and immigrated to the United States during the potato famine of 1840. They came to America by the only transportation available: by boat. They also came for a better life with better opportunities. I am assuming that both settled in Long Island or New York City.

My grandparents played a very important role in my life. Not only did they play a role in giving me life, but they also gave me knowledge. I only knew one of my great-grandparents, my grandmother’s mother on my father’s side. I called her Nana. When we visited her in the nursing home, should would give me lollipops and call me Frenchy. That is all I remember about her.

My mother’s mother—better known as my Mémère—was the one grandparent I was closet to early in my life. She would let me get away with murder. When she used to babysit me, she would have all sorts of things for me to do. She would always have coloring books and crayons for me. She would let me eat pancakes in the living room or drink Sprite with a spoon. She was very special and I will never forget her.

My Mémère Cecile Blanchette

My Dad’s mom and dad are great. First, let me start with my grandfather. He was in World War II and was the only one in the war to come back fat! I learned this from all of the old war stories he used to tell us. He died in March 1996 and those great war stories died with him. I miss him and will love him always.
Grandpa Ford
My grandmother is great too. I told her about me doing this autobiography and she gave me a book about the Fords in America. She’s still living and lives in Southington (editorial note: she passed at the age of 91 on my 27th birthday).

Grandma Ford, Nana, and my Dad
Now the tough ones: my Grandma and Grandpa Cassidy. I know you’re wondering why I have three sets of grandparents, and I know I am. But, I’ll give it a shot. Before my Dad was married to my Mom, he was married to Judy Cassidy. They had my older brother Tom. She died of colon cancer when Tommy was three years old. A few years later, my Dad married my mom, getting me a third set of grandparents. Grandma Cassidy spoiled me rotten too. She died three years ago in October.

Grandma Cassidy getting friendly with Santa
All I remember about Grandpa Cassidy was that my dog Benji—who is now in doggie heaven—used to crawl all over him.

Grandpa Cassidy with my brother Tom
We are a pretty normal family. Well, that was until I was born. We were lucky we don’t have any black sheep or anything like that. There’s probably one story in every family that is said over and over again. And this story just happened to come from my Grandpa Ford. He told us that he played hookey from school and hid out in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, Also, all of his war stories, which I can’t recall (editorial note: he got fat during the war because he ate all the rations no one else liked. The Fords always find a way to eat, no matter what).

Now there is one big characteristic that has been passed down to all the Ford men. The Ford Face. Now I can’t explain it, but I will try. Whenever we Fords lift something heavy or do something that is not easy for us (editorial note: which is everything), we scrunch up our faces into the Ford Face.

My mother has a blanket that she received from her mother, who received it from her mother. It is pink and white.

Now I come into the picture…

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