Like so many people these days I had more than one father. There was my biological dad, Joe Uknavage, who was in my life from conception until he passed away, my “real” dad. And always on Fathers’ Day I think of him, write of him, remember him with love.
Then my mother remarried in 1970 after she and Dad divorced and her new husband, Manuel “Talley” Talamantes, became my step-father. I was already married, had a son, and had recently moved from Illinois to Colorado that summer of 1970 so Talley was not a big presence, or a constant presence in my daily life. However, my younger sister was only fifteen years old and her life changed dramatically when Mom remarried for Talley had three children with his ex-wife and their kids lived with him and Mom most of the time.
Mom and Talley only had seven years together before she died unexpectedly at the age of forty-nine in April of 1977. Talley, six years younger, died in 1998. My purpose in writing this is not to tell the story of their marriage but to say that I have never fully appreciated this man in my life, my step-dad, who suddenly became a parent to three adult children and a teenager (me and my siblings), and handled that responsibility quite well, in my opinion.
It was not easy integrating families but Mom and Talley did that successfully. And he loved my mother, treated her with kindness and respect, for which I am eternally grateful. Their life together had its challenges but for seven years they both worked fulltime, raised Talley’s three children and my younger sister, and looked forward to their vacation each summer when they towed their camper all across the west and southwest, stopping here in Colorado to visit us, then meandering down in to Texas where Talley’s father still lived, visiting tourist sites along the way.
Happy Fathers' Day, Joe Uknavage