Sunday, June 20, 2010
I remember: very early memories of earaches as a tiny little kid and my daddy blowing warm cigarette smoke in my ear. This was folk medicine. Whether it was the smoke or my parents’ loving arms around me, I always felt better afterwards.
I remember: every Sunday morning in the ‘40s sitting on one side of my daddy, with my little sister sitting on the other side, while he read the newspaper “funnies” to us. Long before we understood what we were hearing, we listened while he read Dick Tracy, Li’l Abner, Moon Mullins, Gasoline Alley, Little Orphan Annie, Krazy Kat, Blondie and Dagwood and all the others.
I remember: we took lots of “drives” – around Rainbow Pier in Long Beach, through Belmont Shore where we bought a “Mile-High” Curries Ice Cream Cone. We learned about alfalfa because Daddy often drove out to the Bellflower area where the dairies were and he couldn’t resist stopping to pick up a handful of alfalfa to let us bury our nose in the fragrant leaves with the pretty little purple flowers. Driving through Wilmington, where the smell of oil refineries was all-pervasive, Daddy always told us that was the smell of money!
I remember: on Friday nights Daddy would always come home from work with a paper sack full of penny candy from the little corner shop across the street from his appliance store. The living room door would open and he would step inside, holding the bag in the air and shaking it so the candy rattled around inside, tempting us. Ginnie Lou and I were always waiting; it was the highlight of our week.
I remember: every morning my dad driving my friends and me to school, making a swing through the neighborhood to get them all. And later, always being available to take us to the football games and pick us up afterward. And even later than that, driving up to Pepperdine College in Los Angeles to pick me up on Friday after classes were over and driving me back on Sunday night. This was before freeways, but my dad was always happy to do it, chugging along surface streets for what seemed like hours.
I remember: Daddy was generous to my mother’s large family. His success in business meant he could help my aunts and uncles, all younger than my mother, when they started out in life; our house became the center of activities, ranging from barbecues, poker games, croquet, badminton, horseshoes, pancake dinners and New Year’s Eve parties. He was just as generous to his children when we started our married lives, helping us over the humps when we needed it.
I remember: For his 90th birthday we threw a party for him in the assisted living home where he spent his last few years. We prepared a book of letters so after everyone went home he would still have the memories at his fingertips. A few old employees of his appliance store came, along with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and some old friends. All had been touched by his life.
He died at 93. His last years were not easy and he often made it difficult for his family. That person was not my real dad. My dad was the one we always honored on Father’s Day, the one with a sharp mind, a generous spirit and a willing hand. And I remember him today with things that were "Particularly Daddy."