The butcher’s son. – Or how I got here.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

One of the great things about growing up in the U.S.A. is that anyone can start with nothing and end up accomplished. It isn’t just about money; you don’t have to be rich to be happy. For some, happiness is having a large family, making sure your children get a good education or finding the love of your life.

Like so many of you reading this, my family came from humble beginnings. My grandfather came to this country in 1905 from Italy. The son of a farmer in Sicily, he would sleep at night with the sheep to keep away predators. When his uncle paid his passage to America, he emigrated, alone to New Orleans. There he worked in the sugar cane fields for 15 cents a day until he learned English. Later he got a job on the railroad maintaining tracks and switches. He eventually moved to Chicago where he started his own grocery business. He wasn’t wealthy, but everyone knew Sam Domino, as he delivered groceries by horse-drawn wagon all over the city. Sam never became rich, at least financially. When he died, he had a roof over his head and a large family that all had families of their own. That was his reward for his hard work.

I was able to find a picture of Sam (in the forefront) taken at a wedding sometime in the 1960s.

Sam Domino

One of Sam’s sons, my father, learned the grocery business and when the City of Chicago bought up the land his store was on to build the Dan Ryan Expressway, my dad went to work as a butcher for a grocery chain on the south side of the city. Growing up, in my old neighborhood, everyone knew you by what your father did for a living. One boy’s dad was a fireman, another a truck driver. Everyone knew me as “the butcher's son.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, my dad taught me the life skills I would need to be successful. I went to school and learned my reading, writing, and counting, but discipline and honesty were two propensities they didn’t teach in school. I learned both the hard way.

Here is a picture of me as a child along with my father, Joe the butcher. From my age, I guess this one was taken in the early 1950s.

Joe the Buthcher & Son

As a young man, I am sure there were times when my father questioned my life decisions and wondered where he went wrong. When I look back at my younger days, there were times when I strayed from straight and narrow. When someone took this picture of me in the 1980s my dad was probably shaking his head and wondering where the clean-cut kid in the picture on top of the television went.

Domino Hippie

Even though I never learned to cut meat, I was still the butcher’s son. No matter how much my life has deviated from the path he envisioned, the grit and determination of my grandparents and parents were ingrained in me.

I have always tried to provide the same foundation for my sons and helped them find success, whatever that means to them. So far it is working. My parents passed away years ago, but I am sure they would be happy with the job I have done for myself and my family.

Based on this last picture you can see it all turned out okay.


Lately, I have been scanning and digitizing a lot of old photographs trying to assemble a history that will not be forgotten when I leave the world to the new generations. Unfortunately, I am finding many old photographs are fading away even though they were stored away for years. Once I complete the task, I think it will make a nice story for those that follow to at least smile. Maybe laugh, or cry?

There aren’t too many of the old-fashioned butchers anymore. It has become a specialty. Most meat is processed in big warehouses and sent packaged to the stores. My dad would probably wonder what went wrong with his world.

Who knows, maybe future generations may ask, “What is a butcher?”



Featured Image from Pixabay - butcher-4753359_1920.jpg



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Comments (11)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


There are still good butchers around at some of the higher end stores.  I really enjoyed your post and the story of your beginnings.  You were given a wonderful foundation to living life and appreciating your ancestry.  It is good to stray, one often learns that the parents knew what they were doing.  A

Feb 21, 2022 07:24 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Joseph and thanks for the early years of your family history.  We all come from interesting family with different work histories.

Feb 21, 2022 09:02 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Joe,
I always love a good story about emigrants coming to America looking to build the life they choose. It must have been very scary for many of them, especially those who came alone. I remember going hunting with my Dad and we brought the carcass home for the local butcher to cut up and package.  Regardless of our upbringing, we all have to find our own way, don't we? Thanks for sharing your story.

Feb 21, 2022 09:06 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Joseph it's amazing to read the story of so many who came to America looking for a better life and working very hard to work their way up the ladder pe se. The 'Butchers Son' I didn't know that they used to call kids by what their father did.  How interesting. And turned out well and I know your Dad is proud of you!  What kid back in the 70's or 80's didn't have long hair or whatever!  Some how they all found their way back to success and here you are  today.  Appreciating it all , right!

Feb 21, 2022 09:17 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Living on a farm we run a cow off to the butcher every so often to fill the freezer. Enjoyed your story , thanks for sharing.

Feb 21, 2022 03:13 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Joseph- our family had a grocery store and my dad was the butcher!  Interesting aside- he'd wanted to go to medical school but his family could not afford it. Your family's gift to you has been a solid upbringing that you have passed down to your children. 

Feb 21, 2022 06:41 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Joseph - the story you shared in this post dovetails nicely with a book I just read.  It was some short stories each pulled together by a common theme.  Towards the end the author spoke of the Greatest Generation and then Baby Boomers.  Reading your history underscored the memories I gleaned from that book and your post.  Nicely done.  

Feb 22, 2022 05:44 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I enjoyed reading your story and learning more about you!  I am certain that your parents are extremely proud of the man you are!

Feb 22, 2022 06:02 AM
Gwen Fowler-864-710-4518 SC * Mountain* Lake*Home
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

I enjoyed your post.  Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Feb 23, 2022 05:36 AM
Greg Mona
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Wonderful post, Joseph! I enjoyed reading every word. What a great journey through life for you so far, with more wonderful things to come!

Feb 23, 2022 02:43 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing some of your interesting personal and family story.

Mar 03, 2022 06:01 AM