This photo is of Ray Di Martino, my father, with his 4 children Mary, Michael, Meggie and Albert, circa 1955, Freeport, Long Island, New York!
My dad is my mentor, my motivator and my inspiration!
From a young age my memories are of my Dad getting the 4 of us together to do art projects of all kinds, especially around Christmas time to prepare. I am sure one motivation was to get us out our mother’s hair. But, it was also because he was very creative!
One year, he started around Thanksgiving and he bought a very large piece of green felt. He cut it in a round circle to fit the diameter of our dining room table. He bought many different pieces of colored felt and cut them into shapes of Angels, Christmas Trees, Stars and Christmas Balls. Then all sorts of sequins, rick rack and sparkly things to sew on the table cloth and decorate the cut outs. Every night for weeks we gathered together and sewed and sewed. A masterpiece!! The treasured table cloth still exists. It is at my sister Mary’s home. She is not only the oldest but she herself has a large family to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
As many of you know my Dad invented “tissue end wraps for the use in salons”. End wraps are used by hair stylists to protect the ends of the hair while doing perming. They are still used today for perming hair in salons.
He was a young salesmen working for a large paper company in the early ’50’s. His territory was NYC and the Tri State area of NYC. One of the products he sold was wet strength tissue, primarily sold to hospitals. Ray looked at the tissue not only for under bedding in hospitals but a creative source!
My Grandfather Di Martino, Albert, was a barber and a stylist himself. My dad saw his father doing perms using cloth to protect the ends of the hair. He said to himself “this tissue would be so much less expensive and easier to use since it would be disposable”. He cut it up and brought it to salons in his territory to test it. Presto! It worked and us kids were packing end wraps in our basement. Carvel ice cream was our reward for a job well done!
My first job in the Beauty Industry!
His mantra was “Over The Horizon”!! He did not look back but forward. He was always very inquisitive and creative in too many ways to mention here. He was always interested in people and wanted to know how people ticked.
He loved life! He lived to 94. We were all so blessed to have both my parents til their mid 90’s!
One of the greatest compliments my mother paid me was that I was the most like Dad. Always looking for “Over The Horizon”!!
Thank you Dad. You are with me every day in so many, many ways!
Blessings to all Dads today and every day!