My Father’s Beautiful Misadventures

Almost every child says it, but in my case it really is the truth: I have the greatest father in the world!  I am who I am, because of him.  If you have not yet read his Father of the Bride speech that he gave at my wedding, read it now, it will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Photo Taken by: Kyle Hepp

He has never once not supported a dream of mine, no matter how unimaginable it may have been.  In fact, he is the reason why my motto in life is to “dream big.”  This is why I have chosen to support his latest dream, which is to return to College at the age of 70 (he first graduated from St. Peters College in 1962 with a degree in Accounting), so that he can learn the tools that he needs to write his memoir.  When he first told me about his bold decision, I laughed.  I might have even called him crazy.  However, with time I realized I have never been more proud of my father.  He is a shining example to us all that dreams know no age.  In his first Creative Writing class he was asked to chose one word and to write for 7 minutes about it with no editing.  It was an exercise in free thinking.  He chose the word “mole,” a word that in our family has great significance.  I loved his story and felt I should share it with the world. . .



During the 40’s and 50’s, my early years, I lived in an exclusive Italian neighborhood.  No, the homes were not expensive, however unless you were Italian, forget about living there.  It was called “Little Italy” and was located in downtown Manhattan.


The mafia had a large footprint in almost every activity.  If you became an informant to the authorities on their illegal businesses: gambling, prostitution, loan sharking, and kick backs, you were called a mole.  Your life expectancy was not exactly your strong suit.


When I attended high school I found out that mole was a unit of measurement in chemistry.  Somewhere along the way I also found out it was a birth pigmentation and more recently a Spanish sauce.


A rat, a chemical measurement, a skin marking, and a sauce.  Nope, not finished.


My office is located in my home and looks out onto the front lawn.  One day, I noticed patches of grass that were losing their color.  I went outside to see what was going on and stepped in a small sand hole.  Mole attack!


I immediately went into action.  I purchased chemicals both legal and illegal across the state line in South Carolina.  I used every substance that Home Depot had on their mole shelf.  Finally, I called an exterminator.  I was expecting some guy that had crawled out of a Louisiana swamp and had history with battling gators.  Boy was I wrong!  He was a Purdue Engineering Graduate and looked like he could just as easily been selling menswear at the mall.  He was able to capture two of the creatures with traps, but they persisted.

I went nuclear.  I found an old pair of volunteer fireman’s boots (that is another story), gloves, sunglasses, a hat and with a shovel I went to battle.  I even made a sign: RALPH VS MOLES.

Ralph Perullo

My daughter not only thought I was weird and had gone off the deep end, but she also thought that I was wrong in doing battle with these ugly creatures.  She posted my picture in full battle gear on her Facebook wall and stated my goal of killing the moles.  I laughed at her and said no one would agree with her far-fetched position.  I could not have been more wrong.  Now my lawn was being destroyed and I had become an enemy to mole lovers throughout the world.  Moles are horrible — all they do is eat grubs and procreate.  Nevertheless, I am the bad guy.  Months later, the moles eventually left on their own terms and went elsewhere, however let it be known that I never once gave up the war.

Mole a 4-letter word with so many definitions.


Afterward: In case you are interested, Da Moles, as they preferred to be called, created a Facebook page and I am sure they would be honored with your friend request!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

A Chinese Medicine Doctor/Travel Photojournalist who is exploring life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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My Father’s Beautiful Misadventures — 169 Comments

    • Isn’t that picture hysterical? I really should have it framed! He’s such a character — each day is quite an adventure with him, I probably don’t even need to travel for excitement. 😉

  1. Ahhhh…. I love this. This makes me miss my father so much. He passed away a year ago but he is was my everything. I am so excited for your Dad and his new dreams. It will be so great to have all his writings and to save them to show your children. I wish my Dad would have written down all his memories. I am sure he is loving your support. Great story. Send Pops some good luck vibes for me .:)

    • Oh Meg, my eyes just filled up with tears when I read your comment. I’m so so so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I dedicate this post in his honor then!!! I agree, I’m definitely going to save all of his crazy and not so crazy writings with my children one day. Guess writing runs in our family? I’m off to give my Dad your vibes and to give him a BIG hug! XOXO

  2. How touching and funny! He has a natural talent for creative writing, and I wish him all the best back in college! You’re a very lucky lady to have him as a father, Andi! I hope he does write his memoirs, they would no doubt be fascinating! :)

    • I’m sooo lucky!!! He does have his moments of weirdness though (he’s probably going to read this comment uh oh!). I love his writing and truly hopes he does write his memoir. I have no doubt it would be on the best seller’s list!!! :)

  3. I adore how your Dad makes signs – I remember one when Lucas came ‘home’ =) I had no idea that he was returning to school – I completely applaud that. His memoir is sure to be a fantastic read!

    • Isn’t that awesome that he came up with that story from one word? And with no editing??? He needs to create a shorty story from it to send to The New Yorker I think? Thanks for your comment!!!

    • I got teary eyed writing the post!!! My Dad is sooo amazing! We really do share a deep bond, probably because I’m the only girl (he has 3 boys!). Isn’t it awesome that he’s changing his life direction yet again at 70?

  4. Your dad is amazing! I hope when I am older I will also still be so active and fun like him. You are very lucky to have a dad like him- but I guess you know that 😉

  5. You do have a Great Dad! What a kick. Love his mole story. One is never too old to learn. Good for him going back to school. He’ll have a lot to share with other students.

    • Agree, I’ll be learning something new until my dying day!!! There is actually someone in his class older than him that is also writing a book about Cuba. Love it! Isn’t the mole story awesome?

  6. I think my dad will be changing directions at 70 too – he has already done it several times over the course of his life (he just turned 65) and has always been successful. I bet your dad’s memoirs will be fab :-)

  7. I have to meet your dad someday!!! He is so funny! I’m sure that he will have a great memoir to write starting with a childhood in little Italy!!! I will buy a copy and read it! :) ask him to write more stories in your blog!

    • I can’t believe you’ve never met my family yet, it’s sad!!! At least I’ve met yours. When he finishes his memoir I promise to send you a signed copy. I’m sure he’d be happy to write more for my blog! :)

  8. thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!
    So great to discover your blog!
    I’ve subscribed (is that the same as “follow”?) because I absolutely love it!!!

  9. Andi I know we’ve bonded before over being daddy’s girls… but it cracks me up that we even posted about them within a week of each other! I love that mole photo…. and I’m glad the conflict was resolved peacefully :)

    Do you live close to your parents when you aren’t traveling?

    • I’m glad it was resolved peacefully too, otherwise maybe I wouldn’t have been so kind about my Dad hahahaha. 😉 I love that we posted within the same week of each other too about our Dad’s!!!

  10. Such a sweet story. Your dad sounds awesome. Love that photo at the end! I wish him all the success in the world with his memoir and school! Rock it Andi’s dad!

    • Isn’t that photo hysterical? I was on my way to work and he begged me to take a pic and I’m like noooo, but then I saw what he was wearing and I just had to take one. He really is an awesome photo. Thanks a million for your kind words!!!

  11. Your father looks incredibly cute in this picture….that is if you’re allowed to call a 70 year old man cute. It sounds like you both are lucky to have each other and should be proud of each other.

    Cheers! and thanks for your nice words on my blog Andi. Hope you are better too.


  12. HA, I love how clever he was with mole, and that photo of him in attack mode is priceless!!

    Your dad is definitely an inspiration going back to school, and I know he’s blessed to have you all supporting him as he pursues a new dream.

  13. What a great story. How inspiring that he is going back to school to pursue his dreams and goals! Obviously someone as sweet, awesome and fabulous as you would have amazing parents. :-)

    • Hahahaha, love this comment! If you had met him in person during the mole saga of 2011 you would have easily thought that moles were his greatest passion in life. EVERY DAY I had to hear a mole update!!!

  14. The photo of you and your father at your wedding is one of the most beautifuls I’ve ever seen, This photos says EVERYTHING about your realtionship. It is so MOVING! kisses my beautiful an sweet Andy! Following you all the way from Greece!!!

    • Awww what a love-filled comment, thank you so much!!! I love that photo too. There are a couple of shots from us dancing at the wedding that make me tear up every time I see them. Thanks for the follow and kisses, I send them back!

    • Isn’t it wonderful? Every day I get to read his new stories, it’s so much fun. I had no idea he was interested in writing until about a year ago. Caught me by surprise, but he’s SO good!!!

  15. As mother of Andi and wife of the mole hunter, I can assure you that I have seen my share of drama. After seeing the Jersey Boys yesterday, I now better understand that an Italian from Bayonne, NJ, can only be one of two things: successful or criminal. If you would ask the moles, they might say a little of each. I am sure the memoirs will be an interesting read for all, and everyone will know once and for all, from whom Andi got her dramatic flair.

  16. How inspiring for your father to go back to school so he can write his memoirs. I wish my grandparents could have done that, they had such crazy lives. Would love for my Dad to do that too, especially about his Vietnam years which he has never talked about.

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  18. Your dad seems like a very special man and he taught you the greatest thing a dad can teach his daughter: he taught you to dream and to fight for your dreams ! I bet you are so proud of him ! Best wishes to you both from Italy ! =)

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