Tag Archives: Dad

A 102 Year Old Baby Picture of Dad

ScanAntique Antics

What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.

My Dad died when I was twenty-three and he was sixty. We shared the same birthdays.

My Dad was a legend not only to me, but to many of the men who grew up in the twenties and thirties in Lima, Ohio. Well, maybe not so much a legend as it was a reputation.

It has been over forty years since his death. I’ve gone through periods where there was resentment, anger, sympathy, understanding, ambivalence, but most of all forgiveness and love.

My children never knew my dad. My nieces and nephews hardly know him. This is for them and me.

I have a picture of my dad. He appears to be two or three. The photo was taken about a hundred years ago. It’s strange when I look at it, I can see him plainly.

Dad was the youngest of seven children. When he was born his brothers and sisters were already married or just about to leave home. By his own admission he was babied.

He described to me how his Dad would sneak into the kitchen at family gatherings and the young ones followed. He sprinkled sugar on a spoon and fed it to them.

The first story about my Dad’s life he told me was when he was a young boy. I don’t remember the age, but for the sake of context he was pre-school.

Dad said they lived in the country. He fell asleep in a wagon. The entire family became concerned because he was nowhere to be found.

There is something about the loss of a youngest child. That child is like everyone’s child. In those days the older brothers and sisters had a hand in raising and nurturing the younger ones. A near parental bond is made by older siblings.

They all began to fear the worst; he had fallen in the well, drown in a creek, or kidnapped.

The family gathered in the living room to consider the next option. Dad walked in rubbing his eyes and wondered what all the commotion was about.

That pattern seemed to follow Dad for the rest of his life; his older siblings wondering and worrying about where he was.

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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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Good Wood

th1UBOXV1VDaily Prompt: The Power of Touch

Textures are everywhere: The rough edges of a stone wall. The smooth innocence of a baby’s cheek. The sense of touch brings back memories for us. What texture is particularly evocative to you?

I love the feel of a varnished wood finish.

My dad was not good at doing things. I can’t remember him ever repairing anything. I never saw him change oil in his car, change a sparkplug, or tighten a loose screw. The only time I’d ever seen him with a hammer in his hand was to tap a keg.

There is one thing that required manual dexterity that he really enjoyed and took delight in, sanding.

If anyone wanted a floor sanded and varnished, dad was the man. He was absolutely meticulous about it. For him it wasn’t good until it was perfect. I watched him apply varnish as if painting a masterpiece.

What’s more, he never accepted a dime for his work. He worked for beer. That’s right. “I’ll do it for a case of cold ones,” he’d say. So it’s not surprising that the only places in town that could afford dad were bars.

Dad not only did the floors, but the bars also.

His handiwork was in some of the best dives in town.

About six years after my dad died we bought an old farm house. I sanded and varnished the floors. It was a tough task. I wasn’t content with my work. The reality is that I probably would not have been content with anything other than dad doing the job for me.

It would have cost me only a few cold ones.

Every time I see a hardwood floor or run my hands over a good wood finish it reminds me of dad standing over his work, holding a cold one, and the satisfied look in his eyes of a job well done.

Touchy-Feely Bloggers

  1. A Hug of Grace | Katherine’s Daughter
  2. Memories Through Touch | Anniemation Floe
  3. The Power of Touching Your Eel | Zakc Head
  4. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Under the Monkey Tree
  5. Walk away | Bullet holes in the wall
  6. Texture | The Magic Black Book
  7. texture | yi-ching lin photography
  8. some textures | y
  9. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Awl and Scribe
  10. Touch of Power – Madiba | મન ની વાત
  11. Memories in Stone | Finale to an Entrance
  12. Touch | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  13. Where is Nemo? | Foto Challenge
  14. Good Wood | The Jittery Goat
  15. Great Balls of Fire! | The Novice Gardener
  16. DAILY PROMPT: VISUAL TEXTURES | SERENDIPITY
  17. Madhura’s Musings
  18. a head bump, if you will. Bloody brilliant! | thoughtsofrkh
  19. The Power of Touch: When Mom Braided My Hair | Javagrrl Cafe
  20. The Lurker’s List | Power of Touch Through Giving Love
  21. Evocative | Active Army Wife
  22. Textured Brownies (mini chocolate bites) | A Crazy Chef
  23. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch « cognitive reflection
  24. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | THE WRITE PLACE…
  25. Inay | The Mockingbird in Me
  26. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  27. Mother’s Touch | crookedeyebrows
  28. Daily Prompt: Touch/Texture | This, that and the other thing
  29. The Eucalyptus Tree | Flowers and Breezes
  30. Sensory Experences | Kansa Muse
  31. I Wanna Go To Starbucks for Adult Conversation
  32. Wet, Fresh, Alive | Life is great
  33. Daily Prompt: Power of Touch | Bowl of Rice
  34. The Touch and the Feel . . . | meanderedwanderings
  35. The Power of Touch | The Nameless One
  36. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity
  37. Birch Touch | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
  38. What The Cat Dragged In | Just Visiting This Planet
  39. Floral Friday | Yellow Folds | puncta lucis
  40. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Basically Beyond Basic
  41. Texture: From a Wahine’s Point of View | Wahine Wednesdays
  42. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | angelamoody95
  43. Texture on the Beach | Someday I Will Learn
  44. Textures Abound | Mountains or Molehills
  45. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | The Fountain
  46. Texture | Exploring the world
  47. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Poetry
  48. The Jab of a Needle | A Buick in the Land of Lexus
  49. Untouched | Cheri Speak
  50. Daily Prompt: The Power of Physical Expression | One Starving Activist
  51. Like a Butterfly | Blue Loft
  52. The Power of Touch: Texture | Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different
  53. Texture | My Conscious Self
  54. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch. | eBook Sharing
  55. Touching Bodies | Emotional Fitness
  56. The Tapestry of the Heart…..(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
  57. Daily Prompt: The Power Of Touch | Poems From Oostburg, Wisconsin
  58. Warm Little Hands – Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Reinvention of Mama
  59. Don’t Hug Kids | Parents Are People Too
  60. Life is beautiful ! | Dreams to Reality !
  61. Fabulous Fur!! | Mary Angelini Photography
  62. As smooth as a baby’s butt | I am Lynn
  63. Touch Me, Stir My Fire – Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch | Mine to Do Over
  64. Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch » My Life, My Way, My Words
  65. Daily Prompt: Texture | Tommia’s Tablet
  66. Daily Prompt : The Power of Touch | Mon beau manoir

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Old Glove Old Desk Old Sweater Old Me

My first baseball gloves.

My first baseball gloves.

Daily Prompt: Prized Possession

Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

Admittedly I have an attachment to things; small things that remind me of the past.

My Dad bought a glove for me when it looked as if there was a good chance for me to start at shortstop on my little league baseball team. A couple of years later he bought a first baseman’s mitt for me. I still have them. It’s a reminder of hot sunny days on dusty diamonds as a kid and being my Dad’s pride.

I write on the desk my mother bought as a gift on my fourteenth birthday. A matching bookcase came with it. I have another blog which isn’t used often. It’s called My Old Brown Desk.

A year before purchasing the desk and bookcase Mom and Dad purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias. Mom and Dad thought my grades would improve. They didn’t, but they opened up a world of wonder and knowledge. Those encyclopedias were stored for a while in a damp place and took on mold. They had to be destroyed.

It reminds me of a Midwest farm house bedroom in which the desk and bookcase rested. I tried studying, but was seduced by my imagination to wander through the encyclopedias and read about places far from the farm fields of northwest Ohio.

When sixteen I saved my money from bailing hay on nearby farms and bought my school cloths. My favorite item was a green Jantzen sweater. I slip it on nearly every day. I have another blog that features only short stories. It is named My Old Green Sweater.

Each item represents a gift from the people most dear to me when growing up. They were gifts with good motives and pure hearts. Lastly was a gift purchased by myself to myself. I think sometimes that is important; buy something for just you. It’s not selfish or egotistical, just make it meaningful and memorable.

I’m not incredibly attached to those things; only the memories they beckon; Dad watching me play ball, Mom watching me study, and my first day at school wearing that sweater – I thought I was cool!

Other possesive bloggers:

  1. Ilya Fostiy. Clone | Inside My Schizophrenic Mind
  2. Prized Possession – I’m Afraid Of The Dark
  3. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | pandora’s island 2
  4. You’re the Beary Best! | Misifusa’s Blog
  5. 57/365 – childhood attachment | Camera Girl
  6. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | To Name a Few | Loading…
  7. Books of my grandfather, or what you need French for | Standing Ovation, Seated
  8. Puff, the Magic Turtle | Conversations
  9. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | The Gozum Show
  10. Step aside Blankie… | thoughtsofrkh
  11. Ever decreasing comforter (Daily Prompt) | Prompt Queen
  12. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | My Daily Prompt Blog
  13. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | Alex Hurst
  14. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | The Dork Life
  15. The Pendleton | Kansa Muse on Micro Farming and More
  16. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession — Annabelle | SERENDIPITY
  17. Anne | Hope* the happy hugger
  18. My most prized, loved possessions. | Random Encounters of an Inquisitive Mind
  19. Waiting Upon My Every Move | Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | likereadingontrains
  20. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | JUkk
  21. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession « Mama Bear Musings
  22. My Most Prized Possession | Chatter From a Single Mom
  23. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession 2nd April, 2013 | ittikorn1994
  24. You’re Too Slow! A Story About My Experience With the Sonic Games | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
  25. Evoking Nostalgia | Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness
  26. Humpty Dumpty is Starting to Smell . . . | Pondering Spawned
  27. Purple Bear… | Haiku By Ku
  28. My Jassem Doll | das Nicht-zuhause-sein
  29. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  30. Rolling stone.. | Head full of Fluff
  31. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | baka’s blog
  32. Daily Prompt: Where Is It?! | One Starving Activist
  33. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | Diary of Dennis
  34. Childhood Artifacts | Fish Of Gold
  35. Daily Prompt: Ringa Ringa Roses!! | it’s just abOut Me 🙂
  36. the blonde-haired girl with the longest legs | Pigments of Life
  37. Daily Prompt: It’s not as much fun to pick up the pieces | emma wolf
  38. The adventures of Zoe and Zelda | Five Uninterrupted Minutes
  39. My Childhood Friend | draliman on life
  40. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | My Atheist Blog
  41. One Of The Sixty. | paul scribbles
  42. Michael Jackson and a Stuffed Platypus | History & Wine
  43. I’m not sure if I’d call it a possession…Daily Prompt | polysyllabic profundities
  44. My Prized Possession? | The Nameless One
  45. Prized Possession: A library filled with 66 books | Not The Sword But The Pen
  46. Daily Prompt: Baby Bottle | Lines by Linda

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Dad Gets Cancer

This was pretty much Dad's favorite recreation and hobby.

This was pretty much Dad’s favorite recreation and hobby.

Dad lived from one beer and one cigarette to the other. It was just a matter of time before it would all catch up with him. He couldn’t laugh without breaking into a wet cough.

Dad’s addiction to cigarettes was unbelievable. I recall a time when the family went to Chicago to visit friends we got caught in at snow storm on North Shore drive. The traffic was bottled up. No one was moving. Dad ran out of cigarettes. I recall him pounding the dash of the car and cursing the traffic. “I need some god d*mn cigarettes.”

There are not too many photos of Dad without a beer beside him or a cigarette in his fingers.

I was fifteen and watching TV one Spring evening. Mom came into the living room and told me Dad was in the kitchen. She said, “Your Dad wants to talk to you.”

I was hoping it was not ‘the talk.’ Dad was crude in his expressions and likely such a conversation would have left me scared for life.

Dad sat at the kitchen table with his right elbow resting on the table. He told me to sit. I pulled out a chair and sat. I knew it wasn’t ‘the talk.’ Dad had no hint of being uncomfortable. I’d never seen wear a more heartfelt and serious expression.

“Last week they did a biopsy of a lump in my throat and I have cancer.”

That’s all it took for me to fall in my Dad’s arms. We stood and sobbed and held on to each other. I knew what he said, but all I heard is that ‘Dad was going to die.’

We talked for an hour or so. Dad assured me that he was not going to give up. He told me that he and Mom made an appointment to see a cancer specialist is Columbus. Dad was confident and that gave me confidence.

That night in bed I prayed. I cried a lot and didn’t sleep. I heard Dad get up at little past five and Mom drove him to work. I was waiting for her when she came home. I asked her if I could stay home from school. She insisted that I go, because there would be days to come when I would not attend school.

That day I recall walking the hallways and forcing smiles and making comments with friends on subjects not even in discussion. I could not talk to anyone.

Dad, Mom and I went to Columbus to see the cancer specialists. I sat in the car and waited. After an hour Dad and Mom came out to the car. They were hopeful. The doctor assured them of success. The cancer was local (only in the throat). Some of Dad’s jaw bone along with tissue would be removed.

The operation was scheduled for the later part of May.

Mom, my sister Char, her husband Chuck, and I were at University Hospital in Columbus the day of the surgery. I don’t remember seeing Dad before hand, but I recall the wait. After a couple of hours Dad’s surgeon visited with us and said the operation was a complete success.

It was a couple of hours before Dad was back in his room and a couple of hours after that before I was able to see him.

I walked into his room. He lifted his head. It was distorted and the whole side his neck and face was heavily packed with gauze and surgical tape. Blood had already seeped through the dressing.

I went to Dad’s side. “You okay, Dad?”

Dad had the most sorrowful and helpless look I’d ever seen on a man’s face. My knees buckled and I lost balance.

“Somebody better take him out,” Mom said.

Chuck put his arm around me and walked me from the room. We walked a ways down the hallway and looked out the window. We sat on a bench.

“Are you okay?’ Chuck said.

“I didn’t think he’d look that bad,” I said. “He looks lost and lonely.”

“He’ll do fine,” Chuck said.

(Continued next week.)

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My Dad And Louie, The Barber

For my Dad this was the kind of place he liked to get his hair cut. Of course, all the better if there was a bar next door.

For my Dad this was the kind of place he liked to get his hair cut. Of course, all the better if there was a bar next door.

For Dad going to a barbershop was like a religious tradition. In my Dad’s day barbershops were ranked along side bars and pool halls where men could be men.

Dad’s barber was a guy on South Main Street in Lima named Louie. Louie looked like Jimmy Hoffa.

When Dad and I showed up at Louie’s it was always empty.

“He’s next door at Harry’s,” Dad said every time. (Harry’s was a bar.)

“You wait here,” Dad would say. “I’ll go and get him.”

That meant Dad would tell Louie I was waiting for a hair cut. Louie was a whiskey shot man. He’d down one and come back to the shop. In the meantime Dad would order a beer. There is a long standing rule and tradition; you can’t just walk into a bar and breath the air for free, you pay for it by ordering a beer. Dad never went into a bar without ordering a beer. To do otherwise might cause him to be expelled from the brotherhood.

Louie cut my hair while drunk and reeking of booze. To this day when I think of barbershops it is not associated with the odor of colognes and aftershaves, it is whiskey oozing from the pores of a drunk.

After Louie was done with my cut he went next door to get my Dad. Another rule is that you never leave a bottle on the counter with beer in it. Dad had to finish the beer. Louie didn’t like wasting time so he would order another shot while Dad finished his beer. If they weren’t in sequence Louie might even have two shots.

Eventually Dad got over to the shop and got a haircut.

Dad liked to tip. “Let me buy you a shot,” Dad would say and they both went to the bar next door to finish the religious rites at the barbershop visit.

One day Dad and I got there just as Louie was opening.

“Good,” I said. “At least I’ll get a hair cut without him being drunk.”

“Are you kidding me,” Dad said. “Louie can’t cut hair unless he’s got a couple of shots in him.”

Dad asked him over to Harry’s and bought him a couple of shots before he let him cut my hair.

Louie died in the early sixties.

Harry told my Dad the morning Louie died he came in and asked for a shot of whiskey. Harry obliged him. “This is my last shot,” Louie said. He tossed it down and opened his shop, sat in his chair, and died.

Dad said that was a good way to enter the pearly gates. If Louie didn’t go there without the smell of booze Saint Peter would have thought it was an imposter and turned him away.

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A Dad’s Love; Fondly Remembered, Painfully Written

When I was five Dad was taken away in an ambulance. I thought he was dead.

When I was five Dad was taken away in an ambulance. I thought he was dead.

I have a good memory of events before I started school. Some people don’t. Some say that comes from a good memory, not necessarily. Trauma during those years will help one recall them while some who have a normal unobtrusive upbringing recall little from the preschool years.

There are several traumatic events remembered, but none more so than a head-on automobile collision our family had in August of 1952. It was with another car. I was five.

I recall nearly every aspect of that crash, but for the sake of brevity I’ll write about the ones related to Dad.

Mom was driving. Dad was in the passenger’s seat. The impact sent his face into the windshield while his chest smashed against the dash. Every rib was broken.

The ambulance transported Dad first. He was barely alive. Mom was injured, so were my sisters Becky and Charlene. I recall only complaining about my ankle hurting.

Even to this day I recall riding in the ambulance with Mom. She was in so much pain and cried. She kept asking about Dad, but no one had answers for her.

I had seen death before.

We lived near an overpass that had a dangerous curve in it. Crashes seemed frequent.

One day we heard a crash and all the kids in the neighborhood ran to the overpass to see what happened. Three men were dead. Two were in the car and the other sprawled out on the side of the road. There were no lacerations or bleeding. They were just dead.

I knew that people died in car accidents and when Dad was removed from the car and placed into the ambulance he wasn’t moving or making a sound. I thought he was dead.

I kept asking Mom, “Is Daddy dead?” (Mothers know everything and can fix anything, even death.)

We arrived at the hospital’s emergency room. By then I was hysterical. “My Daddy is dead. I want my Daddy. Tell me, where’s my Daddy?”

A nurse led me past one of the emergency rooms. There was Dad laying on a bed. He was a mass of blood, especially his face. He was unrecognizable. A doctor and nurse were tending to him.

“God**** it!” he cried out. “Is my son okay? Tell me, god**** it!”

“He’s okay,” the doctor said. “He’s okay.”

“Let me see him!” Dad said.

“He’s not here yet,” the doctor said.

“When they get here let me see him,” Dad said.

“Daddy!” I called. “I’m okay. I’m okay. I wanna see my Daddy.”

“There, you’re son is okay,” the doctor consoled Dad.

“Let me see him!” Dad said.

I ran back to the doorway of his room. “Here I am, Daddy. I‘m okay.”

In spite of what my Dad was not there were things he was. Therein lies what is really important.

As I think of all his flaws that I have written about in the past and will write about in the future; my Dad was my Dad. I loved him – not because he was simply my Dad, but because of that one night in late Summer of 1952 reminds me; he loved me more than his self.

Yet there is a far-reaching and more important reason: he gave me life. Without him I would not have existed. Even his flaws seem minuscule when examined in that light.

Several years ago I conversed with a friend who had a similar upbringing. His father spent much of his time at the bars. I lamented my youth as well. I told him about spending endless hours in bars with my Dad. “A boy in grade school should not be exposed to that environment. It’s not even healthy for adults. I always resented that.”

My friend looked at me and said, “At least you were with him.”

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