Joe Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Eight.


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Dear Tommy,

First, I love you and think of you often. I keep hoping you will call but maybe I’ve just forgotten how busy a young boy gets. Or maybe you can’t call long distance? You can always call collect, just ask your mother how. I did try to call you on Christmas but there was no answer and no way to leave a message. I can’t understand why your mother wouldn’t have an answering machine. Perhaps I’ll send her one and a calling card.

What have you been up to since my visit? Is third grade a challenge? I don’t know why but I remember it being the first time I ever thought school to be fun. We finally started learning some math that was interesting that year. Do you like math like me? Maybe you like music like your mother. She is an exceptional pianist. I’m sure she’s forgotten to mention that as she’s quite modest. I know she teaches music but I’m not sure if she ever plays for recreation anymore. You should ask her to play something for you some time. Maybe you could even tell her I miss her beautiful voice. You don’t have to.

Anyway, your little brother is teething. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when an ordinarily angelic baby become an impossible to please demon. And that is saying something with Joey. I think I mentioned he is usually as mellow as you were as a baby so this has been quite the adjustment for both of us. Ah well, this too shall pass. Your sister Kiki is having a blast in Kindergarten. She has a whole tribe of boys and girls she has convinced that she is actually a princess and somehow gets them to bring her things and give her their desserts. But here’s the kicker, son, she kept all of it and had an ‘auction’ on the playground to sell it back to all of them. Then she gave her teacher the money. I asked why and she said, ‘so she can buy us some good snacks for story time. No one likes carrots and crackers.’ HA! As a father I’m torn between pride at her entrepreneurial and management skills and pointing out that the establishment frowns at that sort of ‘business’. Or so the government and my lawyers tell me. I can’t wait to see what sort of scheme your brother dreams up in five years. I actually woke up in a sweat the other day thinking about what sort of shenanigans he could come up with if he’s anything like me.

Ah speak of the devil, he’s up again. I’m beginning to greatly appreciate the sacrifice your mother made raising you with only a part time parent to help. I guess it’s time to hire an au pair. That’s a fancy word for live-in babysitter.

I love you (I know I said that already–can’t be said enough). Hope to hear from you soon.

Your Loving Father,

Mickey

PS- I put the calling card in with this letter and another business card.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Seven.


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Hello Joey!

I do hope you’re settling in well at school, and that you are not having me on about being happy to go. I usually don’t worry about you pretending to be happy about something you are not, unlike your sister, but in this case you can chalk it up to a case of your father having some anxiety about sending you so far. Not to mention so unsupervised. Yes, I realize it is a military school but I can recall being thirteen with a clarity that would frighten you. I’m sure you have trouble imagining me so young. I wish I had had your maturity when I was that age, who knows what might have happened? In any case I would appreciate you using the new phone and computer I bought you for regular facetime. Emails or letters will not be enough. You are a Downey so I know mischief runs heavy in your veins. And the sneaky twinkle in your sister’s eyes has me uneasy as well. I do want to say I would not mind if you showed an interest in taking up letter writing like me and your great grandpa Seamus. It is a forgotten art form. People just dash off texts and emails these days without a care.

 I just scared myself with how old that made me sound. You can stop snickering any time. On another note, I just got off the phone with your brother who was surprisingly friendly. Well, perhaps not friendly, but polite and animated. He’s moved out of that horrid old house he was renting off 48th and found a single apartment closer to downtown. I said that was a good move because the hours he keeps he has no business having to keep up another man’s yard, and let’s be real the other tenants in that house never did their part. He’s thinking he might be making the rank of Detective soon. I’m sure he figured that would just ruin my day, but quite the opposite. I told him if he doesn’t make it, I could get him placed here in Chicago, the Alderman in our district is always carrying on about needing more boys in blue. Tommy laughed quite a bit at that. Who knows at which part? But he thanked me for the call, which was a first. If you were here you’d be able to tell me if I was making too much out of it. This is another reason I will miss you greatly–our talks about Tommy. It’s not the same with your sister. She is too much of a people pleaser, always wanting to fix things that can’t be fixed. You inherited your poppa Big Joe’s skill for listening. Another forgotten art.

I’d better wrap this up, especially since I will be seeing you soon anyway, in fact, maybe before this letter even arrives. See? Your old man can be sneaky too. Possibly you already knew that. (nyuk nyuk nyuk) I’ve a friend in DC I haven’t seen in quite a while and I thought I’d surprise him with a visit and I can pop over and see you while I’m there. You can show me around your dorm and introduce me to your new friends, of which I am sure you already have several. Did your mother tell you that you actually have a cousin on the Bonanno side not too far from there? I’m not sure of the exact connection, you’ll have to check with her.

I love you and don’t forget I’m always keeping an eye on you, so no shenanigans, alright, boyo?

 See you soon!

Your Loving Father,

Mickey

PS- Keep your grades up and my pilot says he’d be happy to have you along for a ride in the cockpit. Won’t that be a fun bragging right for your friends?

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Five.


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The following is a letter that was written the February before this flashback in First, I Love You;

She smiled remembering it. Little Joey running all over the hotel lobby getting into things the way restless nine year old boys do. Daddy all tense and silent, staring at ‘that woman’, as mom had always called her. And Tommy–Ha!–Tommy, acting like he had just wandered into the Omaha Hilton because he had nothing better to do. But she could see in his eyes he was just as nervous as she was. Just as curious to finally meet his siblings…

And in Second of All;

“We’re here so you can meet your brother for the first time. You can get an ice cream any other time.”

Joey sent a quick resentment-filled look at Tommy who was teasing a furiously blushing Kiki about some boy-band she liked…

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Dear Princess,

I hope you are enjoying Paris! I know I said I wouldn’t “bug you” while you are visiting your mother but I thought it might be nice to get a letter from your old man anyway. It feels strange to be writing to you instead of enjoying your company while I write to others. It’s not only odd in its intended recipient but because my study feels very empty without you. I can feel you rolling your eyes at that, even from across the ocean. Oh well, somehow we will both survive your teen years. You’ll be happy to know your “stinky little brother” has so far kept his promise to stay out of your room. Either that or he is exceptionally talented at not getting caught. Given his parentage, it could go either way. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know he’s still quite jealous you got to go without him. I suggested maybe I could send him to his mother during his own birthday month, but he’s still set on Coney Island.

Speaking of brothers, Tommy will be graduating this May. Since Joey doesn’t want to head to Europe, I thought it would be nice if we could take a trip over to Omaha and see Tommy graduate. Won’t it be nice to meet him in person? Well past time, I think. You’ll find when you get older it’s easy to let time slip away and before you know it your daughter’s wearing lipstick and your oldest son’s graduating high school. You should probably make sure your mother doesn’t see this letter. You know how she gets when people mention Tommy.

I have to run now. Call me when you get this letter so I can hear your sweet voice.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

PS–Remember our deal, you need to be completing your homework. Getting out of school for a month doesn’t mean you can slack off.

PPS–No falling in love with any French boys.

A Letter from Mickey Downey, Part Two.


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The following is a letter referenced in First, I Love You;

“Does he like to play Princesses?” Kiki asked. Daddy didn’t answer, just chuckled as he picked up his pen and wrote:

Dear Tommy, First, I love you. I hope you enjoyed the present I sent—’

“Daddy, guess what! I read the word love!” Kiki said, proud of herself.

“Very good, sweetheart, very good,” he seemed to choke out the words like something was stuck in his throat. Then he kissed her head and continued to write.

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Dear Tommy,

First, I love you. I hope you enjoyed the present I sent–I’m not sure what a boy your age is ‘in to’ these days but I gathered from your Transformer PJs that you might like those. If you already have this car, let me know, and I will get you one you don’t. And, of course, Happy Birthday! Turning ten is a pretty big deal, it’s not every day a young man busts into the double digits! Do you remember how much you liked playing cars in the living room? We must have lost a few dozen Matchbox cars down that large vent. When you were just a wee tyke you refused to walk over it and you would stand there, stubborn as a mule, until your mother would lift you over. If I was there you would insist I do it because I always remembered to make the airplane sounds. Mothers sometimes don’t understand the importance of these things. Speaking of your mother, I am not sure if she told you that you have a little sister, she’s 5 1/2 and about to attend Kindergarten. Her name is Katherine but we call her Kiki. I’ve included a picture, she’s eager to meet you. You’ll have to indulge her if she asks you to play Princesses, little girls are sometimes pushy like that. But I promise to take you out for an extra large ice cream afterward! And never fear, you also have a brand new brother, he was born just this last May and his name is Giovanni, but we call him Joe. He reminds me a lot of you as a baby. You were always such a good baby, hardly ever cried. Kiki cried all the time but is now quiet as a bug in a rug. And it seems like you will be the only one of my children to have the Downey green eyes. Ah well, who can predict these things?

I’m sure this is a lot to take in, so I will end my letter here and say once again that I love you and I miss you. I don’t know what it is your mother may have told you, but I want you to know you can call me whenever you like, or write if you are so inclined. I meant what I said last week that I will always be here for you no matter what, day or night, whatever you need. And you don’t need to worry, I will not make you move, I gave you my word. You can ask your mother, I always keep my promises.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

PS–I’ve also included my business card which has my personal lines written on the back. You may call any of the numbers, everyone has instructions to put your call through to me at once.