What's up beautiful people? I hope everyone had a great weekend. It was the first weekend I had off from Comedy in a couple of weeks so I just relaxed. It's amazing that its the end of the month already. Its March! Can you believe that?
Anyway, enough with the chitter, chatter. I talk a lot of shit on stage and on podcast. I talk about my mom and my crazy step dad and all the other great and unusual people that have been put in my path. There's one person I never talk about and that's my father. His name was Manolo Eliseo Diaz, his street name was Manolo Camaguey, after the City he came from in Cuba.
He was born in Cuba but grew up on the lower East side of New York City. He died a week after my 3rd Birthday, that's why I remember him, but I don't. While I was growing up I heard great things about him. His kindness and his generosity. His love for my mom and for me. I heard about how he came to this Country and was taken in by Jews, and how he borrowed money from one of them and opened a Cuban restaurant in Union City in 1956 with my mother called El OK. That was what put him on the map and how he became the first Cuban committee man with aspirations of politics. I also read his obituary, and how he died of a heart attack, and how my mother took his body back to Cuba to be burried, it was amazing.
When I was young I would spend my Summers in Miami with my Godfather Rodolpho. He had grown up with my father. One night while he was having a few drinks, he broke down. He said there wasn't a day that went by that he didn't think of my Father. He asked if I knew the story? I replied yes. He thought I knew the real story so he started to tell me how all these years he lived with guilt because he felt he could have saved him. I asked him how? He said if he would've been there and Manolo would've gotten the stuff from him. What stuff? He said that my father was at the bar with my mom celebrating and that they were looking for cocaine. He had it but didn't want to leave because he had business that morning. My father and mother kept calling but he wouldn't answer.
A few hours later my Father found something. He told my mom to walk him to the bathroom but there were customers so my father went in by himself. When he came out my mother said he was pail. It was heroin and it killed him with in minutes. They kept calling Rodulpho and when he answered and they told him the story he still didn't believe it so he didn't go down.
I went home and confronted my mother about the story and she told me it was true. She said she was waiting for me to get older to tell me. I couldn't believe it. The newspaper story, the obituary, nothing mentioned drugs. When I asked my mom she shrugged it off, then years later she died and I never really got an answer.
While she was alive she always mentioned a Prudential insurance policy my father had left, but she never collected on it because she was saving the money for my college. I looked into it and he had left me a huge policy! A half a million dollars, that was in 66' when he died. Could you imagine what it would be worth in 79? I contacted the Insurance company and said the claim was good. The required certain paperwork and wills and what not. There was a problem. His death certificate and autopsy papers were never signed. How did this happen. I hired an attorney and the only thing that we could do was to go to Cuba and dig up the grave and have it tested. Can you believe this?
I gave up on this situation and was trying to go on with my life. It was 84' and I was getting ready to move to Colorado, so for a few extra bucks I got a job with some Puerto Ricans numbers bookies I knew that had been partners with my mom in the early days. One day one of the guys told me that there was an old friend of my Fathers that wanted to see me. His name was Angel, he too had grown up with my father and knew what had happened. He told me that my Father and him ran Heroin for the Jews in the early 50's and made a fortune, that's how he got his first restaurant. My mom and him fell in love and had my Sister than me. My father was a legitimate business man but his side business was Heroin and numbers. He said that the night he died, he was at the hospital with my mother and since my Father was a Committee man and he was rolling with influential people that they would be embarrassed by this so they made up the whole thing of the heart attack and got him out of there. He was buried in Cuba and the most important thing was that he did love me.
The reason I'm writing about him was because this past Saturday was the 45th anniversary of his death and I never really think about him that much. I tried to write this 2 or 3 times today, but couldn't get it right. As a child I came to terms with it very easily and today I know why. It always seemed to me like he was always there. At times as a child I could feel his warmth. I know it sounds crazy but it always seemed like I would see him again. Even after my mother remarried, I kept his name because he was never really gone to me. In fact he gave me the name, "Coco' and every time I hear that for a split second I think of him.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a great week but most important, STAY BLACK!
MARCH COMEDY DATES
The Brea Improv 9th
Moondoggies San Diego 15th
TBA New Jersey 19th
The Bitter End NYCITY 22nd
The Comedy Club Webster New York 24th-26th