Saturday, July 03, 2010
If my Dad were still alive, he would have been 94 today. However, he passed away with colon cancer at age 62---so he never got to meet his grandkids. I think of him on this day and know he'd be as proud of my boys as I am. It was so weird---last evening as I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about my Dad and how much he would have loved to see Tennis as such a popular and televised sport today---and how proud he would have been that Max has become quite a good player. I remembered that today would have been his birthday---and then I heard Max doodling on his bass guitar and he started to play Happy Birthday! Now, he didn't even remember that today would have been my Dad's birthday. How weird is that??!!!
At any rate, my Dad was quite a guy. I don't EVER remember him ever using the "F" word or raising his voice--no matter how mad my Mom got. He was always ready with a joke and a twinkle in his eye. The first time he took me outside to teach me tennis, I was in college. My Mom had warned me not to tire him out. However, when we finally came inside, he was fresh as a daisy---it was I who was sweating buckets and panting. He knew all the spins and trick shots so he never had to move on the court. He and his doubles partner won a Michigan State tennis title back in 1934 when he was in High School. His town was so small that they didn't have tennis courts, so my Dad built a court in their back yard and they played every chance they got! Remnants of that court still exist somewhere under the overgrown weeds.
He had learned to read by the time he went to school (at age 4) and because he graduated so young, he spent a year working in his dad's hardware store before going to the University of Michigan, where he got degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Metalurgy. He went on to design bomb casings in the 1960's.
Besides telling jokes, he loved bridge, cribbage, sports on TV, his after-work Manhattan, traveling, photography, doing crossword puzzles in his head, candy, and fishing. Even though he traveled a lot, I was always closer to my Dad than my brother was. In fact, one Christmas he gave me a white football (which I treasured), much to my Mom's dismay. I guess I was more of a tomboy and interested in sports than my brother was. I remember how astounded (and proud) he was the first time I brought a piano action home to work on. He couldn't believe I was so mechanical-minded.
I still miss my Dad and often he still appears in my dreams at night---always the same age he was when I was in High School---young and vibrant. Thanks, Dad, for all you taught me.