The Blacklist and My Dad
Actor Sean Penn remembers the grace and dignity with which his father endured the harsh, damning wounds inflicted by an industry -- and a country -- that turned against him.
My father, Leo Penn, was a patriot to his core. The son of Spanish-Lithuanian immigrants, he was born in Lawrence, Mass., in 1921. A child of the Great Depression, his father moved the family to California on a Greyhound bus after finding work as an orange picker and later as a leather-goods maker in East Los Angeles. It was from the sloping foothills of City Terrace of the '30s and '40s, above the orange groves leading into the San Fernando Valley on one end and Chavez Ravine on the other, that my dad lived, firsthand, the great promise of America. Over the years, his father opened a bakery and came to whittle out a reasonable slice of middle-class life.
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