I have added a new Category entitled “Daddy…Loving Memory” where all the Personal items that I have written about my Dad will be easily found.
My Dad’s battle with cancer is now over. My family and I hold dear the conviction that he has gone on to a much better place where he no longer struggles with cancer or CMT. Where his legs and hands will now be free and mobile and strong as they once were when he was young and where there is no more pain.
I am really trying to do more celebrating of his life than mourning of his death and that is why I have been going over old photo albums and such … but I guess that will come easier when my own personal, and my family’s personal, grief is not quite so very sharp.
Although words are not coming very easily right now, I do however, wish to honor my Dad’s memory on this day. So maybe through these few pictures that I found while going through some very old photo albums that had some pictures of my Dad, my Mom and me in the very early days, a start can be made. The pictures are very old and not great quality, but I hope they do some justice.
My Dad, working with his Dad, on a car and getting unexpectedly caught by a shudder bug (likely my Mother or my Aunt Dottie – my Dad’s sister):
My Mother, my Dad and me the same year, 1957:
These are two pictures of me sitting in the Go Cart my Dad made for me out of an old baby buggy, some tin cans for headlights, an old crate, some paint, a Go Army bumper sticker for the front and an old license plate on the back, and a few other things when I was a little girl in 1962:
There were many wonderful days that were shared growing up and as an adult with my Daddy, my Pappa. I will try to remember them all.
EDIT (You may need to clear your cache to see some of the pictures again. I changed the names of the files to not have spaces so all browsers can see them. I have added items several times on 5/26 and so far once on 5/27. These ramblings are a work in progress. As I think of things, I am adding them. On 5/27, I added the part about Daddy’s love of mathematics and problem solving and worked on a few clarifications. These are mainly in addition to the previous blog entries on Daddy and I don’t think they repeat anything from the other blog entries.
The memories that I am sharing below mainly are from the very early days of my childhood on Gladney Avenue in Toms River, and some are about Daddy in general that most of our family knows or at least might remember vaguely.
The reason I am sharing the early memories is because I am the eldest of 6 children and there are nearly 5 years between me and the next child down in our family; which just means I might have a few memories of the earlier days that some of my siblings may not know about, or remember because they were too young at the time or not even born yet.)
Some rambling memories…
I remember …
Yes, I was Dad’s ‘Gus’ or ‘Gus Gus’ … it was his pet name for me when I was growing up… and he’d still call me that sometimes even as an adult and I remember how good it made me feel to hear him say it..even though I have no idea what it meant or why he called me that.
Or how as a child he would tease me when I’d run out the door and tell me to come back .. that I had forgotten something, and I’d look all around, and then he’d say ‘your footprints,’ or when he’d tickle my feet till I’d be laughing through tears crying Uncle!, or rubbing his morning beard on my face (yuk!), and so many other wonderful little things … like I’ve mentioned in earlier postings.
As a child, I remember that we sometimes would go to the Western Auto with a bag or box of television tubes and he’d let me test them in the tube tester there. He’d let me watch or help when he worked on things and I’d pester him with questions.
How he built me that go cart with such love and care.
I remember how he’d sometimes take me to Fort Dix with him and out to the ranges, and show me ‘Snoopy’ the tank, or take me with him on runs when he worked for the dry cleaner delivering clothes, or to the Island Heights Yacht Club where he also worked to make some extra money to support our growing family especially after he was ‘Honorably Discharged for Medical Reasons’ when they discovered he had CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Disease) and that his being in the Army was making the disease progress more rapidly — because of the added physical activities of military life. Because the disability wasn’t nearly enough for a family our size, and because he didn’t get 100% disability for many years, he was always working extra jobs to make ends meet.
How he’d stop and get us ice cream or Stewart’s draft root beer, or drive to Seaside to look at the ocean.
I remember, after all the chores and other things that he wanted to get done for the day were completed, how we’d sit and rest in the evening, or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and watch old classic movies and musicals, or scifi flicks, or kung fu movies, war movies. He had such a wide variety of interests.
He passed along his love of movies, music, and of the Three Stooges and vintage cartoons. He really filled out my love of music to include so many other types of music besides the music of the day. He also passed on his zest for life, the sciences, electronics, and so much more.
And conversation … always respectful but in a very real sense a camaraderie.
I remember we’d work together building something, or tearing down engines and then put them back together after cleaning and fixing the parts, and tuning the engines till they purred … (“I helped” and always ran to get tools he needed, all of which he taught me to know by name).
He dearly loved to work on car engines, or other mechanical, and/or early electronic devices. It broke my heart to see him have to finally give that up little by little as he just didn’t have the stamina, strength or dexterity to do it any more.
He also loved mathematics and loved to work out mathematical problems. He was a problem solver; it was his nature, and not just in mathematics.
He would say that we can do anything that we set our mind to do. I am sure that my high rating in mechanical reasoning on test scores was entirely attributable to Daddy’s influence. I only wish I could have been as good as he wanted me to be in mathematics as well.
At one point, he actually worked in the Dividends dept on Wall Street and commuted 2 hours a day from the Jersey Shore to New York City.
And oh, boy, the big pots of delicious spaghetti sauce and chili that Daddy would make for the family.
And I will never forget Dad patiently teaching me to drive, to parallel park, and it especially touches my heart to remember when when he drove up with the lane in a beautiful light lavender convertible Corvair with white leather bucket seats that he had secretly found for me as my first car at some farm where it sat for two years before he got it (he had such plans of working over the engine and making it just so), and he was so excited that he pushed the old car a bit too hard and cracked the block on it’s maiden voyage home coming up the hill on the lane in front of the house where we were staying in PA at the time … he was heartbroken and how could I blame him for it, he blamed himself! I was sad about the car, but so touched about his thoughtfulness and his grief at breaking the car. Later after we moved back to NJ from PA, he bought another used car for me, a Galaxy 500 that he worked on till it was ‘just right.’
I remember my Dad’s early CB days, and later when he lovingly called me watermelon on the CB when I was pregnant with my first child and when he talked with his friends — folks we had never met on the CB. (I was mortified! but he didn’t mean it in a bad way … he just always loved to lovingly tease.)
I remember so many things … I remember how Daddy took care of us, and how hard it was on the family when he was still in the military and he went overseas for tours of duty to Germany, Korea. How he and mother would create tapes on a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder (Mother and Daddy had matching recorders that they bought before he left on that ToD) and would send them back and forth instead of writing letters so we could all hear his voice and he could hear ours. It was particularly nice that Christmas when he couldn’t be there for Christmas. I also remember how when Daddy had the opportunity to stopover in Japan on the way home on one tour, he brought back beautiful Japanese Geisha dolls … one beautifully dressed with a lot of hats, another again beautifully dressed with an umbrella and wysteria trailing, and the third was a larger one, a bride groom in the most beautiful costume with long white hair and beard. He brought some other cool things as well such as these cool little thick rubber slippers that were so narrow I could never keep them on my feet and a carved ship.
Speaking of ships … he painstakingly built a ship in a bottle one time and another big ship, with three masts and all the rigging and proper knots and everything, very intricate (that ship sat on the old stero/turntable cabinet) … now that takes some patience!
He loved the water and was an avid swimmer. He loved to fish and actually got his picture in the paper for catching the first Striped Bass of the season (a 14 1/2 lb). The picture also hung in the store of a friend’s shop in Seaside for many years. He also had a small motor boat that he loved to take out on the Toms River in NJ.
I remember … how he wouldn’t give in to CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Disease), and how he’d keep walking and trying to keep walking with out the cane whenever he could, and kept creating new and innovative ways to do the things he wanted to do when his hands would no longer cooperate as he wanted them to.
I also remember, how his faith in his God kept him strong and helped him get through some of the toughest things a person will ever have to endure.
And I will always remember the great love and pride in his eyes at this daughters’ and his son’s weddings. And in the birth of each of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I have not even touched the surface of the wonderful memories I have of my Dad. I feel I have not been able to do him justice somehow.
I will always remember my Daddy, my Pappa with great love and admiration.