Some things take a while to complete. Michael Marini started writing a book in 2001, and it was published last year. It’s an inspirational story about his father, Dante, and his recovery from a serious illness in 2011.
“It’s sort of like a ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie’ mixed with ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul,” Marini said recently. “A lot of different angles to it.”
“Seven: In the Lane of Hope” follows a year of Dante Marini’s comeback. The north Wilmington resident, a parishioner at Holy Rosary Church in Claymont, got sick in 2011, and his family was not sure he would recover. Michael Marini recalled that on Christmas Day of that year, his seven sisters visited their father in the hospital.
“It kind of sets the whole book up, and it sets up his comeback. That’s sort of when the idea for the book took off” Marini said.
The “seven” in the title represents his sisters — Patricia, Denise, Linda, Kathleen, Marianne, Theresa and Angela — each of whom has a chapter devoted to them. The “lane of hope” comes from one of his father’s sayings. The Marini family is known for their running abilities, and Dante Marini refers to the last stretch of a run as “the lane of hope,” his son said.
“You can see the finish line, you’ve got a clear shot to the finish line,” Marini said. “(Dante) was coming down the lane of hope. God had given him another chance. This was his bell lap. He always related it back to God.”
Running has always been an important part of the Marinis’ lives. Dante ran track and cross country at Salesianum for a year, but at the University of Delaware he led the cross country team to two undefeated seasons. He held multiple records as a Blue Hen and was a two-year captain. He got involved in coaching the sport and is a member of the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame.
The Marini family, which also includes four sons, is also known in New Castle County for their produce business on Veale Road. Dante and his wife, Beebe, and their children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren all have been involved in the business, which sells much more than produce.
Marini said the book, which is 212 pages long, is really two volumes in one. The seven chapters, written in 2001, are about his sisters and how they taught him about God’s spirit, he said. Each of the chapters is not only about a sister, but one of God’s graces: hope, patience, peace, grace, faith, love and joy. He wanted to make the book an easy read, and one where a reader could open to any page and get something out of it.
“It’s a bunch of short stories,” said Marini, who attended Holy Rosary School and Salesianum School, graduating in 1994.
His sisters knew he was writing about them, but they didn’t need to worry, he said. “There’s really not a lot of negative in the book. I tried to keep it in the light, refreshing. For them, once it got done, I sent them all a copy.”
Marini lives in Palmyra, Pa., and teaches anatomy and kinesiology at a community college. He also does some neuromuscular therapy. He is also known for his abilities on the piano. He plays at restaurants and clubs, and he performs at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center every week.
“When I go in and play, a lot of kids from the hospital, and the people from the cancer center come in,” he said.
Producing “Seven: In the Lane of Hope” was a lesson in patience and persistence. Marini wrote the book in four main sessions, but he couldn’t find an agent to help him get it published. The editing process took about a year. Finally, he was able to get the book listed on Amazon through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform last September. In mid-June, the book had 15 reviews on Amazon. All were five stars.
“It’s been really neat to see how well it’s done. The people who have read it that I talked to … I think people have seen what I was trying to get across. Run your race in life, listen to your heavenly coach,” he said.
But Marini, the 10th of the 11 siblings, said he doesn’t deserve all the credit for its success. His father, now 85, was responsible for all the good quotes and the perspective. His sisters represented God’s gifts.
“Our father in heaven is doing the same thing for all of us. Use the seven gifts the good Lord gave us. The threads of the book are the running stories, the thread of my father’s fate, the thread of my sisters.
“The message that this book’s getting across, it couldn’t come at a better time.”