As I grew up, I never realized how important my parents were. My dad was the center of our life, the one who kept our family together. He was the one everyone enjoyed being around.
He didn’t speak much at all. When he did, everyone normally listened. Of course, there were those occasional times when no one did.
My dad always told everyone that he wouldn’t live long. He expected to die at an early age. When he finally died, he was nearly 86 years old.
He had his problems, but he cared about his family. He was an introvert that hardly spoke to anyone. His love was his family. He did have an issue with anger, at times, but hearing about his life made one wonder why his anger wasn’t greater. The older he grew the more mellow he became.
My grandma (Dad’s mom) died when my dad was about 18 months old. My grandpa remarried a woman who cared very little about him or his children. My dad told me several times how his step-mom would get out a belt and lay it on the children just because.
Normally, this would be believed simply because parents said it. It was not that in our case. When she grew old and infirm, my dad brought her to our home so he could take care of her in the last years of her life. We learned to fear her ourselves.
My dad left his home when he was about sixteen years old and joined the military. He was there for several years. He even went through the Korean War. When he returned to America, he ended up on Skid Row, as he called it.
Eventually, he left that life and married my mom. They had my older (and oldest) brother (he’s one year older than myself), myself, my sister (three years younger than me), and my big little brother (ten years younger than me but almost six feet tall).
My dad sought to be a great dad. I must say I regret some of the things I did that hurt him, but that is for another story. Maybe I’ll do a series of memoirs on my relationship with my dad.
There are so many things to look back on when it comes to my dad. I can say that I’m very thankful for the time I had with him. He was a very special man. Everyone loved him even though he didn’t say much.
I want to share one of my great memories of him.
Normally, we were sent to camp every summer through the church we attended. It was supposed to be a lot of fun. I didn’t find summer camp to be that way since I was the one who extremely shy and bullied most of the time. Instead, I wished to stay at home and read my books.
Still, it was probably good for me to get out and interact with others. At least that is what my parents probably thought. Unfortunately, I stayed in my cabin whenever I was allowed to do so. This summer camp was no different than any others. I survived it then returned to the church.
We were supposed to call our parents to let them know we had arrived. Of course, they would pick us up.
When it came to my turn, I called our phone number. For those of the younger generation, no one had cell phones back then. We also didn’t have Caller I.D.
My dad answered the phone. “Hello?”
“Hello, I was wondering if you could come to pick me up,” I told him. I was trying to play a joke on him.
“Who is this?” he asked. He was always nice on the phone but didn’t like to stay on it long.
“The person you are supposed to pick up,” I replied, trying to keep from giggling. Now, I am almost sure he knew who it was.
“I didn’t know I was supposed to pick anyone up. Tell me your name or I will hang up on you.”
“You are supposed to pick me up like you told me you would,” I insisted, thinking the game was still going on. My dad hung up on me.
I called him back and said, “Dad, this is Violet. Can you pick us up now? We just returned from camp.”
Within a few minutes time, he was at the church. I never asked him if he knew who it was. I wasn’t sure what to say about it on the way home. I wondered if he thought some woman called him out of the blue.
Looking back, though, I believe he knew who it was and waited for me to admit what I did. He loved jokes.
Those are special times. I think about them and just smile wishing I could have more time with him. I love and miss you, Dad!