They say “hindsight is 20/20” and in my case it may not be. You see with all the family struggles we had it’s hard to tell what is “real” and what is a “dream”, or moreover, my “nightmare”. I have to start at the beginning as my story starts quite young.
I was born on a military base in Italy to a handsome military police officer, and his beautiful wife, along with my older sister. My father spent time serving his country in Vietnam, alongside his best friend Chuck Gordon, who went from being “Uncle Chuck” to “dad” some years later. My first language was Italian, although once we move back to the states I never spoke it again. We finally settled in Los Angeles, after my younger sister was born on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with my father and mother joining the Los Angeles Police Department. (LAPD). I remember my mother being a dispatcher-like the kind they showed on television programs like “Adam 12”- and my father was a police officer, like my favorite show “Chips”. I also remember one of my parents worked days while the other one worked nights, which made it difficult for them to spend much time together. I do remember our dog, “Chino” was my first babysitter. My mom once told me that she had to prove to our neighbors that Chino was up for the job by asking the nosy neighbor to try and go near me while Chino was on duty. She didn’t get but a few steps on our lawn when Chino protected me with a determination of a trained police dog, and the nosy neighbor never bothered us again.
Life was pretty good as much as I can tell. We grew up with little resistance from parents as usually one was sleeping during the day, which meant we could sneak as many “otter pops” as we wanted. We took trips to the beach, went camping in the California hills, and ate Winchell’s doughnuts on Sundays. Life was fairly normal back then, but hell was about to enter our house in the form of a boy and his dog.