A Father's Lessons: Coping With Loss, Love After his wife died in 1977, Joseph Natale raised three children on his own. Recently, he spoke with his son about coping — and finding the new love of his life. "The amazing thing was, no way was I longing to get married" again, Natale said.
NPR logo

A Father's Lessons: Coping With Loss, Love

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94522972/94545597" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A Father's Lessons: Coping With Loss, Love

A Father's Lessons: Coping With Loss, Love

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/94522972/94545597" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Soundbite of music)

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for StoryCorps. This project is criss-crossing the nation recording everyday people talking to each other about their lives. When StoryCorps stopped in Buffalo, New York, Joseph Natale dropped by with his son Greg. Joseph raised three kids on his own after his wife died. He's 78 now and spoke with his son about life as a widower and a bachelor.

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: I spent a couple of years overcompensating as a father. You know, I'd open the refrigerator door and see two gallons of milk and have to run to the store because we were running short of milk and buy three more gallons. And it was that kind of thing. I was so afraid of not being a good parent and filling in for the missing mother, you know. I did that for a couple of years and I realized that I had to start doing something for myself as well as my kids. And I began to participate in local theater.

Mr. GREG NATALE: So get to the part where you meet Kelly, Dad.

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: Well, I was hired for a role in the play and Kelly was in the play. And that's where we met.

Mr. GREG NATALE: You called me up, I think it was a Sunday, and you said, I have to tell you something. Okay. So you said, I'm seeing somebody, and you had seen a few ladies over a few years after Mom had passed away. And I said, oh, that's great. And then you say, Well, it's getting really serious.

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: The amazing thing was, no way was I longing to get married. But it just seemed so natural. By the time we got married, we were deeply in love.

Mr. GREG NATALE: What does that mean to you, that second love of your life?

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: Well, you know, Mom died in 1977. She died the day before my birthday. And you know, you have to deal with that loss and you still have to live life. And that's what I hoped you kids got out of it too.

Mr. GREG NATALE: We did.

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: Yeah.

Mr. GREG NATALE: You taught me that through everything you've done. Through your example you prepared me for life. You made me able to deal with my own ups and downs.

Mr. JOSEPH NATALE: I wasn't trying to be an example.

Mr. GREG NATALE: Well, that's the best kind of example and I just wanted to say thanks.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Greg Natale with his father Joseph in Buffalo, New York. Their interview will be archived with all StoryCorps interviews at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. Subscribe to the project's podcast at npr.org.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.