I've been writing this thing in sections. I'm realizing now that I'm not exactly sure how the sections are going to fit together, and in what order, but it's more important at this moment for me to get this written in some (even disjointed) fashion, so that's what I'm doing. What follows is a section about Joe's parents. I'm currently working on passages about his siblings (I hand write everything I do first, and give it a quick revision in the typing process. That's my method), and I hope for that to be up shortly.
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It would probably be best to begin our tale by explaining the rest of Joe's wonderful family. His father, Jonathan Pantaro, is an inventor by trade. He was fascinated by incredible renaissance men like Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and L. Ron Hubbard. Yeah, I know. They can't all be winners. And no, Jonathan is no Scientologist. As I said before, he is an intelligent man, and well, that's all you need, really. Jonathan always wanted to create things, and this passion extended to his educational life. He studied many things at many prestigious universities within many buildings fabulously covered in ivy. Of course, we all know that the inclusion of ivy on the side of a building automatically makes it respectable and deserving of honor. It's a good thing then that the ivy that was planned to be grown on the side of the Reichstag prior to Hitler seizing control in Germany didn't take. That would have really messed things up for Harvard and Yale. I'd posit that the ivy knew Hitler's true intentions, or possible just didn't want to be set on fire under mysterious circumstances. I would posit that, that is, if I were criminally insane and thought that plants were capable of intelligent thought. Or if I were a Scientologist. Same difference, really. Regardless, Jonathan became a master of the finer points of mechanical engineering, physics, and philosophy while at these weed infested universities. I can hear you wondering now: why philosophy? What does that have to do with a passion for inventing? Patience, friends. All will be revealed soon.
So what do you do with a double major in engineering and philosophy? Well, one thing's for sure. You have a pinhole camera on you at all times in social situations to capture people's response to the "what's your major?" question that always comes up. And boy howdy, Jonathan had some good ones. Confusion, mild revulsion, blank stares, he had seen them all. And sometimes there would be that little twinkle of intrigue from a kindred spirit. Jonathan would often attempt to date these people (provided that they were of the fairer sex), and the courtship process would usually end right around the time they found the camera. I mean, who could blame them? It's a bit difficult to explain his actions without being a creep. Clandestine surveillance usually doesn't go over well as the kind of trait that is seen as gentlemanly. But one woman was different. She understood. She was compassionate, caring, and fiercely intelligent in the way that always craved new knowledge like lichen spreading over a rotting log. When Michelle (as this was her name) discovered Jonathan's secret camera, she immediately demanded to see the rest of the pictures. They reconvened at his apartment with a bottle of wine and a box of pictures and drank heavily and laughed robustly at some of the more taken aback responses. As the night relentlessly tore past midnight and technically became a very early morning, the heavy drinking turned to heavy cuddling, and the robust laughing turned to robust kissing.
Michelle and Jonathan were married two years after Jonathan had earned his Master's degree at yet another institution positively overrun with ivy. They tied the knot on a beautifully crisp fall day in New Hampshire. This was the wedding dreams are made of, and while our groom was a staunch and skeptical man of science (and philosophy) with no time or patience for superstition, he acquiesced to his loving fiancee and never once took a peek at her dress. When the blushing bride came down the aisle resplendent in a gorgeous white dress that was fantastically covered from head to toe in ivy, Michelle wished she had borrowed his pinhole camera to forever catch the incredulous and completely taken grin on Jonathan's face. And when she reached the podium and whispered "Prestigious enough for you?" into his ear, it took every ounce of strength for him to not start the honeymoon right then and there. It was a wonderful service; it was the kind of day that made you believe that love could truly conquer all. I should know. I was there. The reception was a dizzying mess of music and drinking and toasts and more drinking. To a man, everyone knew that this was the kind of bond that would last. The honeymoon was a whirlwind trip through the history of Europe. They toured castles and ruins, and made love in a wide variety of hotel rooms all across the continent. It was on one of these nocturnal excursions that Emily, the first of the Pantaro clan's four children, was conceived.