Our Very Own Chief of the Boat

January 2nd, 2015 No comments

Oscar was a first generation American who loved his country.
Twenty-four years in the Navy and in submarines he did serve;
Rising in rank to the prestigious rank of “Chief of the Boat” that he deserved,
He was mentor and friend to many.
If he knew you needed something, he’d be with you for the long haul.
Blessed by his sense of humor, he loved having a good time with all.

I always thought my Uncle Oscar was our family’s very own submarine man.
My earliest recollection of him was when I was a very young, wide-eyed young kid in awe
When he would tell us stories of his submarine adventures, underwater for months at a span;
Of course, “Run Silent, Run Deep” was the hit movie at the time;
A World War II movie about submarine warfare,
So we would imagine our Uncle Oscar as the leading man.

Romeo Oscar Collazo was husband, dad, brother, uncle, grand-dad, and more;
Or as his grandchildren called him, “Lelo”, which, I am assuming, is short for “Abuelito”,
He embodied everything that was good in the human race;
This very proud man devoted his life to his family, his country, and his God.
I, for one, look forward to seeing him again in everlasting grace,
So that he again can tell me more submarine stories and I will again be in awe.

Bob Collazo, Jr., 1/2/15
Miss you Tio! Until the next time!

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My Tio Luis

March 6th, 2014 No comments

Luis embodied what he felt was important in his life – God, Country, and Family.
First, he made his peace with God;
Country because he was part of the “greatest generation”, served faithfully in WWII;
Family because he would do whatever it took for family.

Luis was a very kind, and loving man,
Would gladly give you his shirt if you asked him for it, we all agree.
Worked an honest trade, and made a clean living,
To ensure his wife and five kids had everything they would need.

My Dad, Lalo, recalls the story when he asked his brother Luis to assist in a job,
It was a great example where his exceeded devotion to family shined bright;
When Luis showed up in the middle of the night with his kids, wife, mother-in-law,
and even a washing machine in the back of an old Rambler station-wagon packed oh so tight!

Now you may not know that Luis was the forth Collazo brother to fight in WWII,
His devotion and loyalty to Country is unquestioned for sure.
For on a ship to the Pacific, his ship hit a typhoon, and almost sank.
Then, in Okinawa, where he detained Japanese POWs, he very nearly starved for lack of supplies;
Ate nothing but onions and bananas as the cost of being an America Yank.

Luis loved his bingo, and of course, their Vegas trips they loved to book;
Where early in life, he and his beloved, Zulema would go;
Introducing my Mom & Dad to casinos where they were hooked,
They shared many good times together, no matter the weather.

Now Luis’s Son, Choche, has said
That what an irony in the parallels of their lives;
For his Dad detained POWs in the war,
And his Son detained illegal aliens from the country next door.

Now let it be known that a great first generation American named Luis Manuel Collazo,
The sixth child born to Gerardo and Manuelita, in Laredo, Texas,
Lived a long, and happy life, devoted to God, Country, and family that he adored,
Lies asleep in the arms of the Lord.

Bob Collazo, 3/6/14
Until we see you again, Tio!
Tio = Uncle

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My Wife

February 1st, 2014 No comments

I have now known you nearly all of my life.
You have been my refuge from life’s storms,
My salvation, my love, my wife.
Yet with every passing year together,
I feel we grow closer still.

Now you know the road we’ve traveled;
It has sometimes been long and steep.
Yet we have had a whole lifetime together to keep;
Now close to the downhill side of the mountain of life,
You are still my everything, my all, my wife.

Today on your 62nd birthday,
I wish you nothing but happiness and love to surround you today.
Together, may the rest of our travels in life’s clear blue sea,
Be as beautiful and bright as the love you’ve given me;
My love, my dearest, my wife.

Hope you had a good birthday!
Love you!
Bob, 1/28/14

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My Padrino Abe

September 23rd, 2013 No comments

At the top of his profession,
Abe was a brilliant, eloquent lawyer and judge, steady as a majestic oak,
Who provided his wife and family all of his love and support,
But now sadly has been silenced by the ravages of a stroke.

Praying and hoping for his recovery,
His wife of sixty years is ever present, watching over his care;
And even though Abe cannot yet speak,
His eyes and his smile tell Celia his love is very much still there.

To me, that brief, instantaneous look in his eye,
When you see that he recognized you and was aware,
That’s when you knew that for that fleeting moment,
That his memory of you is still there.

Now it’s been months since Abe’s stroke,
Yet Celia is still there, lovingly by his side every day of the week.
Baby steps at first, seemed his progress at first,
Then all of a sudden, he started making strange noises, actually re-learning to speak!

Could this be His big sign?
Abe’s re-awakening, his rebirth to the human race?
Just goes to show you the power of the human spirit,
For we just knew he’d be back with a little help from God’s grace.

Human nature being what it is, I am aware,
Still it is not our job to question, complain, or compare;
But to be compassionate, to assist, and to offer him the Lord’s prayer.
For all we know, Abe is the fortunate one, and truly walking on air!

Mom called Abe this week to wish him birthday greetings;
So when the phone was put up to his ear
Upon hearing Mom’s voice, Celia recounted,
Abe grinned widely most sincere!

Now, knowing my Padrino Abe like I do, I would apprise
That like a prizefighter looking for the win,
You can see the fight in his eyes,
Wanting to come back to us, surely that would be no surprise!

Knowing Abe’s memory is still in him locked inside,
He knows that Celia, the love of his life, was always by his side.
Then, of course, he recalls his Son, Abie, with whom he took much pride;
His beautiful daughter, Sandra, who made his heart swell;
His lovely grandkids that he also loved as well.

Abe has gone now
To be with his God, and loving Son.
But those of us who loved him in life
Know that his legacy of a very good and honest Man lives on and on.

‘Till we meet again, Padrino!
Godspeed…
Your God-Son always,
Bob Collazo, Jr.
9/20/13

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Jim & Mary

February 13th, 2013 No comments

Jim was born in New Jersey,
But at twenty, was a saddle-bronc rider
Doing rodeo across the plateau,
With too many broken bones
And too little money to show.

Both Jim and his two sisters
Have seen their departed mother many times, they say,
A sign of eternal life, or a spiritual bouquet?
Their 85 year old Dad is still kicking,
His heart still beating today.

Jim met Mary recently, the love of his life;
A loving, caring and sweet woman.
Both of them are aware that life is too short
For bickering and strife;
Now isn’t it something, that Mary has been Jim’s new found light?

Now put Jim & Mary together and
Besides the laughter and the bliss,
You’ll certainly surmise
That even though Jim is big and Mary is pint-size,
Their love for each other, they just can’t quite disguise.

Bob Collazo, 2/13/13
Terry and I have so much fun with you guys! Hope to see you soon!

Mary let us know today that Jim’s Dad passed away;
It was expected but still very sad to hear
Since the man was loved and very dear.
He lived a long, full life with many friends galore;
Now isn’t this what we all strive for?

Bob, 7/25/13
Condolences Jim!

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Fabian

January 2nd, 2013 2 comments

A proud Hispanic,
Fabian came from a poor neighborhood in Laredo’s wild streets,
That his proud wife said he was really lucky to escape.
Always focused on the project at hand,
Joining the Navy would be the first of his plan to take shape.

Then, four years of college through the GI Bill, it was no easy thing to get an engineering degree.
Now thirty-something years later, much through his perseverance, tenacity, and hard work in the Army,
Fabian has risen through the ranks to be a colonel and a great leader of men.
Deeply religious, he stated that he was saved in combat by his Angel time and time again.

A modest man, Fabian will be the first to tell you that he is very humble to be in his position.
I’m sure that his parents, wife, kids, and grand-kids are all so proud;
For he was raised to have good moral character to live by and stand for;
Dreaming back then on those Laredo streets that he might someday excel and explore;
I’m sure not even Fabian as a teenager knew, he would surely be destined for more.

Fabian, from one old soldier to another,
I want you to know that I feel as close to you as if you were my brother;
For you’ve given us inspiration and hope that this world is a better place,
With men like you leading the human race!

Robert Collazo, Revised 3/27/13
Fabian, much happiness today on your birthday, Brother!
So glad you had Godspeed in returning safe from Iraq!

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Collazo Family Military History

November 11th, 2012 2 comments

I honor of Veteran’s Day, 2014, I am posting some proud Collazo family history.

Gerardo and Manuelita Collazo had ten sons and one daughter, and the family all lived in Laredo, Texas. Our extended family is derived from this family.

Now, during World War II, they had 3 sons serving overseas at the same time. Uncle Pete (Tio Pedro) and Uncle Rodolfo (Tio Fito), were both in the Army; and Uncle Ignacio (Tio Nacho), was in the Navy. Towards the end of WWII, Uncle Luis Manuel (Tio Meme) served in the 2nd Infantry, Army detaining Japanese POWs. Uncle George (Tio Choche) was in the Navy, AND in the Air Force (not at the same time but in back-to-back tours). Uncle Raul (Tio Rule’) was in the Air Force before Vietnam. Uncle Oscar was in the Navy during Vietnam. Uncle Fernando (Tio Nando) was in the Air Force.

I remember Tio Nando during his time of active duty that we went to see him at Lackland AFB; he was the MP (Military Police) on duty at the gate, with the most perfect saluting I ever saw!

The daughter born to Gerardo and Manuelita, our Aunt Trine, was married to an Air Force Airman during WW II, our Uncle Oscar T. Medina, so we want to salute him on this day. An interesting quote from Cousin Jesse Medina who stated that his Dad, Tio Oscar, had it rough during the war since he never left the States and was stationed in Florida!

A big salute to our Tio Oscar Collazo, who is the uncle who we would affectionately call our Collazo Submarine Man. You see our Uncle Oscar served in the Navy as a Chief Non-Commission Officer in a nuclear submarine… very specifically, he was the “Chief of the Boat” of the USS Mariano G. Vallejo, and actually is a “Plankholder” of that submarine which means he was on the original crew when it was commissioned. A special prayer please for Tio Oscar, as he is ill at the moment.

A big salute also this Veterans Day to our Cousin Christopher Collazo, son of Romeo and Sharon Collazo, and Grandson of Uncle Oscar, who is active duty US Navy, and (I believe) is doing active duty on a submarine at this moment! Talk about being Navy Proud! Our very own second-generation Collazo Submarine Man! Chris, guess you know you have big shoes to follow…in the footsteps and legacy of Great Collazo Military Men! A special prayer for Cousin Chris, please.

Now to show that the Collazo Family military tradition continues, we want to also salute all the Collazo Veterans, as well as the Collazo-related family Veterans that have served: My dear brother, William Collazo, Army Physician; Tio Nacho’s Son, Cousin Orlando Collazo, Navy; Tio Joe and Daughter, Cousin Joe Collazo, Jr., Navy, and Cousin Diana’s husband, Gilbert Shely, Air Force; Tio Pedro’s Sons, Cousin Pete Collazo, Jr, Army, and Cousin Javier Collazo, Army; Tio Fito’s Sons, Cousin Rodolfo Collazo, Jr., Marine Corps, and Cousin Pablo Rene Collazo, Navy; Tio Meme’s Son, Cousin Luis George (Choche), Navy, and Choche’s son, Luis Rogelio Collazo, Marine Corps; Cousin Gina’s Son, Geronimo Villarreal, Marine Corps; Cousin Yolanda’s Son, Fabian Mendoza, III, Army. Last, but not least, this writer, Bob Collazo, Jr., is a proud Army Veteran, who most people do not know, served in the Army during the Vietnam war, but never made it out of Texas.

Active Duty: I would like to send out a big salute to our Cousin Yolanda’s husband, our very own home-grown, active duty Army Colonel Fabian Mendoza! Cousin Yolanda and Fabian’s Son-in-law, and Cousin Michelle’s husband, Scott Miroddi, is an Army veteran, and we salute him today.

I would also like to mention and honor family members on my maternal side of the family. My Tio, Ernesto (Neto) Elizondo, was my Mother’s Beloved Brother, and proudly served in the US Navy during WW II. Also, my Tio Neto’s Son, Ernesto Elizondo, Jr., served in the US Air Force back in the 1970s. My maternal grandfather, Francisco Elizondo, had two brothers, Margarito, and Jose, that were on active duty during WWII…in fact, Tio Jose was in Iwo Jima, and saw the raising of the flag there! We proudly salute them today.

Bottom line – We salute all family Veterans today and send them warm regards!

Certainly, with our big family, the Collazo and Family Military legend continues…

Happy Veteran’s Day!
Bob Collazo, Jr.
(Tio = Uncle)

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That El Paso Night

September 30th, 2012 No comments

I can still recall that El Paso night when we went in,
It was clear and cool, and there was something in the wind.
As a young man of twenty-one, were my hopes and fears but a whim?
How would I best provide and care for him?

The miracle that occurred after two days of labor, was that he was born alive that day.
Two months a “preemie”, however we were so proud and very blessed,
Even though the doctors said his survival was a long shot at best.
That he would survive, and live to be okay, we prayed, for surely that would be our quest.

By now you know that the Man upstairs answered our prayers that day.
Thinking back on it now, it was more like a sweet fragrant bouquet when we finally saw his little face.
For we never could we have imagined thirty-nine years ago today,
That our Son would change our lives forever that day, enriching it so in such a great, big way!

Happy Birthday Son!
Bob Collazo, Jr., 9/30/12

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Kenneth

August 31st, 2012 No comments

My classmate since kindergarden, Ken was always there at my side.
A pretty straight guy, loyal and true.
He was always there to encourage me and get me through.
A great friend that I could always look up to.

Now all those years ago have come and gone in a flash;
Sorry for not keeping in touch, for time has just sailed through so fast.
Now I hear you’ve got some medical issues of late;
But just hang in there old friend, my most loyal classmate.

Jerry and I went to see Ken the other day;
Even though we had not seen each other in 40 years,
Of course, he recognized me right away;
We spoke of our old times together, & we all laughed so hard thru the tears.

Robert Collazo, Jr. 8/31/12
We’re all praying for you, my old friend!

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Abe – The Continuing Story

August 13th, 2012 No comments

At the top of his profession,
Abe was a brilliant, eloquent lawyer and judge, steady as a majestic oak,
Who provided his wife and family all of his love and support,
But now sadly has been silenced by the ravages of a stroke.

Praying and hoping for his recovery,
His wife of sixty years is ever present, watching over his care;
And even though Abe cannot yet speak,
His eyes and his smile tell Celia his love is very much still there.

To me, that brief, instantaneous look in his eye,
When you see that he recognized you and was aware,
That’s when you knew that for that fleeting moment,
That his memory of you is still there.

Now it’s been months since Abe’s stroke,
Yet Celia is still there, lovingly by his side every day of the week.
Baby steps at first, seemed his progress at first,
Then all of a sudden, he started making strange noises, actually re-learning to speak!

Could this be His big sign?
Abe’s re-awakening, his rebirth to the human race?
Just goes to show you the power of the human spirit,
For we just knew he’d be back with a little help from God’s grace.

Human nature being what it is, I am aware,
Still it is not our job to question, complain, or compare;
But to be compassionate, to assist, and to offer him the Lord’s prayer.
For all we know, Abe could be the fortunate one, and truly walking on air!

Mom called Abe this week to wish him birthday greetings;
So when the phone was put up to his ear
Upon hearing Mom’s voice, Celia recounted,
Abe grinned widely most sincere!

Now, knowing my Godfather Abe like I do, I would apprise
That like a prizefighter looking for the win,
You can see the fight in his eyes,
Wanting to come back to us, surely that would be no surprise!

Knowing Abe’s memory is still in him locked inside,
Then, of course, he recalls his Son, with whom he took much pride;
His beautiful daughter, Sandra, who made his heart swell;
His grandkids that he also loved as well.

Robert Collazo, Jr.
Get well soon, Godfather Abe! Come back to us!

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