I have always had a unique connection with my father, a bond that began with my very first breath. The spring of 1961 would be a trying year for my family. My father was in the throes of making his first feature film, The World’s Greatest Sinner, and my mother would give birth to twins: Romeo and Silvana. And as fate would have it, with little warning, my mother’s water broke; soon she was in full labor and unable to move. While waiting for the arrival of an ambulance, my head began to crown. Under duress, my father was cast in the role of the stork and delivered me into the world. Silvana would be born an hour later in a local hospital.
What is in a name? Romeo Timothy Carey is my given birth name. I proudly wear the title which owes respect to my father even though I know full well what matters is what someone is, not what someone is called. My early memories of family life run deep like veins in granite. I was fully aware at an early age that my father was different from most other fathers. Living in his shade was a life that I can only begin to describe as a parallel universe, as if looking through a magic kaleidoscope where simple adventures, day-to-day life, took on a circus-like quality that seemed to me to be bigger than life and never ending.
…I often accompanied my father on his trips to major Hollywood studios for acting work. I witnessed from the sidelines the awesome force by which he operated in a scene and how he worked with directors and actors. He was always highly respected and on many occasions his performances were followed by loud applause, and then there would be times when his acting performance would leave a path of discontent that would lead to him getting fired. He was living Shakespeare’s quote from Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.” He was living his own truth about what he thought he needed to do as a Thespian. In performing a scene he tried as much as possible to appease all involved, but in the end he more often than not disillusioned many. Directors and actors had no clue as to his motivations and found him to be insubordinate.
Allowing someone else to define how he was to act in a scene would have been living a lie. Truth is also love. The greatest act of love towards another is living a life that is truthful. To be honest with himself, knowing that he was in “process” and therefore need not have others’ approval. This is true freedom indeed.
- Romeo Carey, from “Making Sinner, A Work-In-Progress,” from the book Dead Flowers (Vox Populi, Philadelphia and PARTICIPANT INC, New York, 2011)
Happy Father’s Day, everyone!