Tag Archives: memories

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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A Speck Of Green Part 2 (From Steve’s Window)

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(Continued from yesterday.)

“Nobody ever comes down here,” Larry said. “It gets kind of lonely. Why don’t ya come over to my place. I got a couple of cold ones. Have a beer before you leave.”

“Sure,” Steve said. “I’m not having very much luck.”

“Maybe ya need to rest a bit and look for it with fresh eyes,” Larry said.

“That’s mighty nice of ya,” Steve said.

“Like I said I don’t get much company out here,” Larry chuckled. “Me and old SparkI scare a lot of people off.”

“I appreciate you letting me snoop around,” Steve said.

“Well,” Larry said. “Nothing is worth getting shot over, but you’ve worked for over an hour and come up with nothing’. Most people would have just looked around and left. That bench must be pretty important to you.”

“Just me and my dad,” Steve said.

“That’s important.,” Larry said. “It’s very important.”

The man ushered Steve to his back patio. On a small round glass patio table was an assortment of soft drinks and beer in cans.

“Pick your poison,” Larry said.

Steve picked up a beer and pulled the tab. “Thanks,” and took a drink.

“Have a seat,” Larry said. “I want to hear about your dad.”

Steve started to sit.

“No,” Larry said grinning widely. “Not there. Over there.” He pointed to the edge of the patio. There was the bench amidst and arrangement of plants.

Steve smiled. “That’s it isn‘t it?”

“Yeah,” Larry said. “That’s it. Have a seat.”

Steve sat and ran his hand over the pitted cement. He closed his eyes for a moment and he was there with his father. When Steve’s eyes opened it let go of a tear. Looking at the seat of the bench he was drawn to one particular pit in the cement that harbored a spec of green. He leaned close and blew away small particles of cement. He allowed his thoughts to escape the present and latch hold of the time he and his dad inadvertently placed that green speck on the bench.

“What is it?” Larry said.

“A speck of green paint,” Steve said. “On the day I remember my father and I sitting on this bench we had taken apart a toy jeep in order to paint it.”

“And green was the color,” Larry said.

“Yes,” Steve said.

They talked for a while: stories about Steve’s dad and the way things used to be when he was a boy.

Steve finished the beer. “I want to thank you for letting me sit here. It means a lot.”

“I’d invite you back,” Larry said. “But there will be no reason for you to come back. I’m giving the bench to you.”

“I’m not refusing,” Steve said. “But I owe you something.”

“I almost bulldozed that bench under,” Larry said. “And for some strange reason I kept it. I don’t mean to insult what it means to you, but I hate it. You’d be doing me a favor by taking it.”

“It’s a done deal,” Steve said.

Larry helped Steve load the bench into his truck and he drove away. In the review mirror was the leveled rubble of what used to be. In the bed of his truck was the pleasant reminder of a warm and pleasant summer day when there was nothing else to do, but for a father and son take part in a meaningless project.

Today Steve looks out his window and there is a bench that might appear out of place to the erudite observer. But to Steve it’s where it needs to be. It is the only place in the world for it.

(Posted as a Daily Prompt)

 (Posted as a 365 Writing Prompt)

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

A Speck Of Green – Part 1 (Looking for Dad)

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(Life is made of a collection of memories and good stories.)

Steve drove down a lonely lane, a familiar lane, but not of recent familiarity. It was of times long past, from when a boy. There at the dead-end of the lane was a leveled pile of rubble. Trees, tall and stately graced and surrounded where once a house stood.

It was a reminder of good times, of pleasant times, of simple times. A time when he was the apple of his dad’s eye. A time before he father’s storm of doubt, failure, and rejection.

Beyond the trees and rubble was a newer home; ranch style and well-kept. Scattered in the nearby was construction equipment, a few sheds, a 250 gallon fuel tank and chained to it a barking pit bull raged.

Steve poked and kicked around the rubble of a vacant lot. He looked up as he heard someone approach from a nearby house. It was a man in jeans, and flannel shirt and holding a double barrel shot-gun.

“What ya doin’ here?”

“I’m Steve Gooding. A house stood here a long time ago,” Steve said. “It’s where I lived as a boy.”

“Didn’t ask for your name. Didn’t you read the sign, ‘No Trespassing.’”

“I was about to knock on your door,” Steve said. “But I wanted to poke around first.”

“Well ya didn’t and I want ya off my property.”

“Sure,” Steve said. “I used to live here as a boy. Before I go do you remember a cement bench that stood about right here?”

“Yeah, now get the hell off my property. I got equipment all over. If people ain‘t tryin’ to steal it they‘re siphoning my gas. Ole Spark will gnaw your leg off if ya try to get some gas.”

“If you give me a chance to find it I’ll buy it from you,” Steve said.

“That bench must be pretty important to you.”

“It just holds a memory,” Steve said. “It’s not much of a memory, but it’s my memory. When I was a little boy my dad helped me with a little project. It wasn’t much, but I remember it and it seems pretty big to me now.”

“How old were you?”

“I think I was 5 or 6,” Steve said. “Look, you can hold that gun on me if you let me look around.”

“Go ahead and look around. Damn thing ain’t loaded anyway.”

Larry extended his hand and they shook hands

“Larry Snyder,” he said. “Glad to meet you, Steve. Ahem, minus the shot-gun.”

“Go ahead,” Larry said. “Look around. And if ole Spark gets loose he’s more likely to like you to death. But don’t try to get some gas. He’s very territorial and he thinks it belongs to him. I got to give him a steak ta pump gas for myself. Take your time.”

Larry walked back to the house and Steve scraped away and probed with a 3 foot long 2×4. He must have worked near an hour. Finally he gave up and tossed the board aside.

Larry returned from his house. “Find what you were looking for?”

“Nah,” Steve said. “Needle in a haystack,” Steve mumbled. “Maybe there are memories not worth uncovering. Maybe that’s the lesson. Thanks, Mr. Snyder. I won’t be bothering you anymore. It was just an old bench.”

“From the looks of things I probably got a good twenty years on you, so I’m going to pass something on,” Larry said. “What you did here today was not look for a bench, but you looked for your father and that’s a good thing. Believe me, Steve, men are always looking for their fathers.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “You’re exactly right. Thanks for sharing that with me. It helps me a lot. I’ll be seeing ya.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

(Posted as 365 Daily Prompts)

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

Dad, Me, And A Toy Jeep

Daily Prompt: Toy Story

What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

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

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

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.”

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Filed under Essays

Thank You Cindy; Photographs, Smiles, And Teardrops

Mom, Dad, Charlene (youngest), and Becky during the war. Likely it was taken in late winter of '44.

Mom, Dad, Charlene (youngest), and Becky during the war. Likely it was taken in late winter of ’44.

Daily Post: Bittersweet Memories

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

It was really quite an emotional reunion. They were things I thought would never come my way again. The were old memories of old family – photographs. They are of little importance to most, but they are gold to me.

As a kid I used to finger through them. They were a reminder of bygone era from the Depression years, the war years, and the 50s.

They were in my sister’s possession until she died two and a half years ago. The photos were passed on to her daughter and my niece, Cindy. She sent them to me.

A blog was started and I post a family photo every so often with a story behind it. The blog is a way for me to share the photos with my family and not to allow the stories pass.

Mom, Dad, and I taken in August of '60. This was in front of our home at 658 Harrison Avenue in Lima. This is probably before one of my baseball games.

Mom, Dad, and I taken in August of ’60. This was in front of our home at 658 Harrison Avenue in Lima. This is probably before one of my baseball games.

Those photos were greeted with and continue with some tears and smiles. We weren’t an outstanding family, just average, yet we have a story told in pictures.

Here is the link to what I have posted thus far: The Lehman Side. It will hold little interest beyond my family, yet it takes you to a time that is passing with the death of each member of that generation.

Each family member holds a special fondness and they hold special memories. I’m so happy to have those photos again. Thank you Cindy.

Bittersweet bloggers:

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

I Can’t Write What I Don’t Know

Mom, Dad, Char, and Becky during the war (possibly 1943) before I entered the picture.

Mom, Dad, Char, and Becky during the war (possibly 1943) before I entered the picture.

Daily Prompt: Companionable

Head to one of your favorite blogs. Write a companion piece to their penultimate post.

Heck, I had to look up what “penultimate” meant. That automatically disqualifies me.

What happens to the brain when you run out of things to write about? For one thing, you start thinking about stuff nobody else would possibly think about and call yourself clever.

Estelle Getty as Sophia in the Golden Girls said of Ernest Hemingway, ‘As a writer he dried up, got depressed, and blew his brains out with a shot-gun.” Rather crass, but it was her (Sophia’s) response to a situation.

Anyway, this prompt left me looking for my shot-gun. What is more disturbing is that I have none. I might as well open my desk drawer, dangle my fingers over the edge, slam the drawer, and write about the first word that comes out of my mouth. So in the absence of a shot-gun and a desire not to wake my wife with “Ahhhhh &%*@!”:

I’ll write a little something else. Two days ago I got a package. It was from my niece back in Ohio. It contained some old family photos. They were photos of family, of simple times, and simple ways, and simple people.

Likely the last picture of Dad before an operation disfigured his jaw. It's the way I remember him.

Likely the last picture of Dad before an operation disfigured his jaw. It’s the way I remember him.

No words have come to my fingertips that describe my feelings. I just have a lot of tears. It was as if a door to the past had been suddenly thrust open and I walked in uninvited. My only two siblings have died (sisters). Dad died in ’69 and Mom will be 100 next February. One picture surprised me. I had never seen it before, It was a picture of Dad. It was a picture of him shortly before his cancer operation in ‘62. It is how I remember him before the operation left one side of his face missing half of his jaw bone.

Anyway, that’s what prompted me today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More blogs:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  6. My Companion List of Quotes | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
  7. Football, Women, Fried Rice and Popcorn. | The Nameless One
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  11. These poems are devoted to my family friends and for a special lady Who gave so much when so much was asked was her love fully given | Daniel angel from Cape Cornwall
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Filed under Dad, Daily Prompt, Essays, Mom

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!

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  15. The Pendleton | Kansa Muse on Micro Farming and More
  16. Daily Prompt: Prized Possession — Annabelle | SERENDIPITY
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  18. My most prized, loved possessions. | Random Encounters of an Inquisitive Mind
  19. Waiting Upon My Every Move | Daily Prompt: Prized Possession | likereadingontrains
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  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
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  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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Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays