On A Personal Note
By the way, I am John B. Lombardo the third son and third child out of 4. Mike was our oldest brother; Mike was never a Jr, and died in December 1991 from complications after a long battle with prostate cancer that had spread into all his bones. Mike the younger I think was 48 years old when he died and my father Mike was 51.
My other brother is Dr. Lucien Xavier who is a distingusihed professor or Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. My sister Francine Elizabeth is a dedicated hard working health care professional in Wilmington, North Carolina.
A few years ago I tried to change Elusia-House into a pay for art website, an attempt that did not work out to well. Lately I have been feeling a strong need to turn it back to it’s original format, which is now starting to become clear as a tribute to our family, of which Ma was always and always will be the center. I hope to include stories and pictures of all family that we can find and remember. There are just some things that need to be addressed and now is the time to address them, at least for me anyway.
Getting back to the late 60’s early 70’s, I went to the local jail in the fall of 1971 on a trumped up drug charge. I was sentenced to 6 months time of which I served 2 months, when I was let out on parole in a gesture of humanity because my father Mike was very ill and dying.
I remember they used to escort me down to the garage of the jail to visit him as he sat in the car. Jesus Christ Almighty my heart used to break every time I looked at him. Even when he came to watch my sporting events in high school. The car was always there at the side of the football field, and he would sit in his wheelchair with Ma at his side at the end of the basketball court during the winter time.
Once the games started and I started to focus in on business I kind of lost sight of everything. But once in a while I would glance over and see the car or Sherm in his wheelchair and get a lump in my throat on the field of battle. It was one of the toughest things I ever had to do. Go out and play, or pretend to play, when I would have rather been sitting in the car with Ma and Sherm and FE, or at the end of the court watching the game with them. After a while you learn to block things out, to get hard, to stop feeling, although in my case this was never possible and was alwaays my achilles heel, and to not care, also never possible and also an achilles heel.
I don’t remember much about jail except the day I went in and the last time I visited with Sherm in the garage and gave him a kiss on the cheek when it was time to go back to my cell. I also remember walking into our house on Perrine St. after they let me out of jail, smelling like steel and metal, taking a shower to wash off the smell, and shaving in a real bathroom.
The Christmas tree was still up and my brother Mike was there to take me to the hospital to see Sherm lying in his bed sweating from a fever caused by the Hong Kong flu. I leaned over and pressed my head against his chest which was heaving as he gasped for breath and warm. He kept pressing the remote control button for the television and watching the picture as it was reflected in the window. That was when I said good-bye.
When I left the room Sherm was still alive and my Aunts Connie and Florie, Sherm’s sisters, were in the hallway yelling at me calling me names and telling me what a bum I was. The Lombardo side of the family was always such a joy to be with. I remember walking out of the hospital at about 3 a.m. to a fresh coat of February snow, and watching the snowflakes fall as I looked back up into Sherm’s room. I wonder if he could see me walking away? I drove a car home and fell asleep. Sometime later Mike woke me up and said that Sherm passed away at such and such a time. That was that. Louie was crying in the darkness of the living room. I don’t remember too much more except the constant stream of people the wake at the funeral home.