What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?
My Dad wasn’t much of a handyman at home. I don’t recall him ever using a hammer, wrench, or screwdriver. I don’t know what he did with a lot of his time. He read the newspaper and slept a lot.
A few days after payday he spent a lot of time at bars. I was with him nearly all the time. He’d give me a dollar and I might wander down to the corner drugstore for a sundae or coke and read Mad Magazine from the rack.
A lot of memories of Dad were from the bar scene.
Before starting to school I had a metal toy jeep. For some particular reason I decided to repaint it. Likely the reason may have been influenced by Dad and Mom having their car repainted.
Outside our kitchen window was a cement bench where Dad helped me repaint the jeep. We used left-over house paint (green).
I tried my best, but Dad was there to steady my hand and help. There are vivid memories of applying the paint. One thing sort of sticks out; although I was around five years old, Dad was not really interested in the project. He seemed uncomfortable with mechanical or manual tasks.
That day and memory stands out in my mind. The picture that accompanies this post is the one taken that day.
Most of what I learned about mechanical things, home repairs, building, and remodeling were learned on my own. He passed none of that to me.
There was a side to Dad that was not ever explored in his day. He lacked the discipline to follow through on projects and to take the time to learn. His memory was sharp and beyond his vulgar language knew how to express ideas and communicate. He was quick-witted and liked to spin a yarn.
A few year ago I went to that old house. It was uninhabited and about to fall in. The owner of the property approached me suspiciously and wanted to know what I was doing snooping around. I told him about living there as a child and the bench on which dad and I painted the toy jeep. I ask if the bench was found could it be purchased? He said I could have it for free. I looked, but could not find it.
Looking at that picture I’d like to go back in time for a brief moment and look up at my dad and say, “Dad, this is important, not today, but sixty years from today, not only to me, but to you too.”