I was in my late 20's when my dad passed away.
He was 71. Here are some things he told me about himself
and...some things I remember when I was growing up.
He was the youngest of 4 boys and his dad left his mom when
my dad was only 2
My dad grew up VERY poor.
He dropped out of school about 3rd grade. I guess sometime
in the 3rd grade, the class went on a picnic to a park. They
were supposed to bring sack lunches with sandwiches.
My dad said that he was really embarrassed because
all he could bring were a few crackers. Telling of this
incident, even in his later years...brought tears to his eyes.
He was born in Chandler, Oklahoma and his childhood friends
were children of "color". All his life, he never looked
upon anyone differently because of the color of their skin.
If any of you remember the Grapes of Wrath, about the dust bowls
in the Midwest...my dad was in his late teens at that time.
With a group of his friends, he traveled to California to get work.
He got a job when he was 17 working in the oil fields in Southern
California. One evening, after work, on a dare...he grabbed one of the
big ropes to swing from one side of the big oil tower to the other. He
lost his footing and the rope whipped around his arm as it spun
him around. His arm was torn badly. He had to wait in a wood
shack for more than twelve hours before a doctor arrived.
(No ambulances back then) They gave him lots of alcohol to
knock him out so that they could cut his left arm off...
above his elbow.
My dad taught himself to read by reading the newspaper every day. And,
I watched him as a little girl add several columns of numbers....stacked
12-15 high...ALL in his head without using pencil to add them. We
would use an adding machine to see if he was correct...and he would
be...almost all the time!
He was a great salesman. NOT the pushy, loud, fast talking kind.
He would talk and get to know the people and what would be good
for them and their needs. He sold cars for many years
But, when I was born he had just started his own furniture store.
He told me once that when a husband and wife came into the store...
he could tell with in a few words of talk who had the main
say in the purchase.
My dad was always generous with all that he had.
He was always thinking of others that were less
fortunate than him. He would always stop and talk to "beggars"
on the street...before he gave them money. When we had
company over for dinner, he always wanted to have LOTS
of food...usually the best cuts of meat too.
He would have his little transistor radio with an ear plug
in one ear...listening to a fight (boxing) and then,
he would have the TV on watching a baseball game.
He could lace and tie his shoes with one hand. As
well as tie his tie with one hand.
He was always jovial, smiling and wanting to make
others laugh too.
My Dad liked to waltz. When I was very little,
I used to dance a lot by standing on his shoes.
Dad was a gambler. He like going to Las Vegas
and playing dice and roulette. He also loved the
horse races. There were many days when I was
in high school, that dad would take me out just
before lunch so that we could go to the Santa Anita
Race Track to watch the horses race.
He belonged to the Rotary Club of America as a Furniture Business owner.
Many times, in our community, people would tell me what a friendly,
kind man my dad was.
He was a very good (one armed) golfer.
He could beat many of the two armed golfers that
he played with. He won several ribbons and
two trophies in Rotary Club golf tournaments.
My dad always made me feel like a princess!
I had the feeling that no matter how bad I acted,
he would always love me!
I only wish that he would've been able to
share more of my life with me...