Dad and Me A Long, Long Time Ago

Dad and me painting a toy jeep. (circa 1952)
Dad and me painting a toy jeep. (circa 1952)

Snapshots 

Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

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.”

Here is the link to episode 6 of my short story Class Reunion.

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24 comments

  1. I cannot figure out for the life of me how to post on the Daily Prompt. I have read and read and I still can’t figure it out. So much to say, so much to post, total Greek.

  2. Parents can be complicated. I know mine were. There were some scenes which made up the stories in my life which I never understood. At least your dad tried to help you paint the car. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. It is fun to go back and unearth relics from your childhood. I’ve done the same thing. The owners of our old house were gracious enough to give us a walk-through tour. However, don’t you find the old adage true, “You can never go home again?”

    • Meaning those times can never be reclaimed either in emotion or otherwise, but we do so because we have a need. It is as if we left something there and are looking for it. I think it may be the emotion of a moment, but it is captured by a different person. We change.

  5. Being a ‘daddy’s girl’ myself, I feel that ‘thing’ you had with your dad at that special moment. Thanks for reminding me of the ‘good times’…

Blather away, if you like.

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