SuperDee's House

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sal Scala

Sal Scala died today. Sal was my dad's best friend. They taught together at Elmont High School in Queens, NY for about 35 years - Sal was the band director, my dad was the orchestra director. They shared a small office and grappled with the annoyances of teaching music to rough kids who didn't necessarily care at all. But, they had music, in general, and each other to fuel them along for so many years.

About 6 months ago, they found a brain tumor in Sal's head and announced that the end was near.

Sal helped my father when he was dealing with a difficult divorce at a young age. My mother had to pass Sal's inspection before my dad could propose to her. As they continued down the path of life, Sal and his wife Eileen and my mom and dad were very close friends. Sal and his band played my Bat Mitzvah party. Sal and Eileen drove up to NY from Florida on a motorcycle for my sister's wedding. He really was just the coolest guy. Eileen took one look at the grand piano in the center of the cocktail hour room and took over. I've heard through the grapevine of my family that my parents *gasp* smoked some green with them on one occasion!

I am thankful that a couple of years ago, when I was in Florida for Phish/Miami NYE, I got to have lunch with Sal and he could see where I am as an adult (sort of) and be proud. I had the opportunity to spend some time with someone that I always just thought was so damn cool. We talked about yachts (he sold them), music (was I still playing? was he?), the olden days...

I always loved to observe the relationship between my father and Sal. My dad is not one of those people that has tons of acquaintances that he keeps on - but just a few very close friends. Sal was a very very very special man that was very dear to my dad's heart. It makes me sad to think that my dad's close friends are starting to fade away. I am glad that they had a chance to say goodbye but my heart aches at the thought of the gaping hole that is left now that he is gone. Perhaps we can fill it by recounting the memories and being thankful that he was a great part of our lives at all.