And Baby Boomers from ethnic families will recognize that much of that suffering had been rooted in Croce's father's inability to accept that his son wasn't going to take the road more traveled. Even later when he became famous, his mother decried his living like a gypsy as he toured the country singing.
Ingrid Croce, Jim's widow, chronicles that history in the biography "I Got A Name: The Jim Croce Story," which she wrote with her second husband Jimmy Rock. Even into his young adulthood, Jim would have his face slapped by his Italian father who wanted his son to get a secure job, live at home until he married, and sit around the table consuming the huge meals the mother prepared. The father would send Jim those zinger letters we Baby Boomers remember receiving from our ethnc parents when our lives weren't conforming with their marching orders.
But unlike many of his peers, Jim couldn't shake off the intrusions of his family. He remained tormented, shut down, and incapable of enjoying his success. No surprise, he turned to drugs and destroyed his marriage. Had he not been killed in a plane crash, he likely would have gone the way of passive suicide.
Ingrid captures the hold families used to have on our generation and how too many of us spent our lives running from their values. Only now in my 60s am I finally healing from my own family's shame that one of their daughters was "different."