Monday, April 26, 2010

COULD HAVE BEEN 90!!!



HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY DAD!! :-) The above pictures are pictures of pictures so I apologise for the blur. I used these same photos on a post last year on the anniversary of my Dad's death.





Dad was born and raised in Stratford, CT. - one of eight children - six boys and two girls. His parents were immigrants to Ellis Island from Austria. My Dad was given the nick-name of "Booty" when he was a boy - apparently because he always wore boots. He had many, many stories to share of his childhood - his father would repair their shoes with railroad ties and they slept three in a bed. One of his younger brothers was a bed-wetter! He shared how he ran away from home and joined the carnival when he was twelve. The police found him and he said they hit him with rubber hosing. Can you even imagine? Although, he added, he never ran away again. :-) His Dad died when he was sixteen and then he joined the army as soon as he was of age. He had already had met my Mom and she 'waited' for his return. He was a WWll vet - earning the purple heart. He was captured the last seven days of the war - and was held captive in a barn. He claims the reason they didn't shoot him is because he had chocolate to offer as a bribe. He also said they had beer and he kept a can opener under the rafters on a nail outside a window in the loft. Twenty five years later my Mom and Dad returned to Germany. The barn he was held captive in was now a restaurant. He went upstairs, reached out the window and there, on the nail, was his can opener. I have that can opener now - proudly displayed in a glass case near his encased American flag given to my Mom at his military funeral.


My Mom and Dad had a gentle loving relationship. I learned how a man should treat a woman and vice versa from watching them. His only vice being that he, at times, drank way too much. Way beyond that was his strong work ethic, love of family, appreciation of flowers - he was a florist by trade although he spent his life readying new trucks for delivery and at times he would take long hauls with piggy-backed 18-wheelers. He taught me to drive his company standard shift pick-up truck when I was twelve and I was able to drive an 18-wheeler by age fourteen.
He taught me how to pitch fast ball- I was a star softball pitcher - pitching no hitters at every game. I practiced with my Dad every night - broke my share of windows too!! He is the one who gave me my nick-=name - "Gimpy" when I broke my ankle. He said I 'gimped', not limped! :-)

I also learned what being a good friend and neighbor meant - when the house across the street from us was on fire they had to stop him from going in to save the woman still trapped - I can still see the other neighborhood men holding him back as it was clear it was just too late. She died that night holding her dog. My Dad never really made peace with that.

His philosophy was that every day he needed to make people laugh. And he did. He was very funny. He also was able to cry - I watched him sob at his brother's funerals and when he lost dear friends. He cried at happy times too, our weddings, graduations, births of our children. He was very 'present' in our lives, no matter what.

He was just 64 when he died - a heart attack. He lives on in me, and my Mom, my sister and all those who knew him. In honor of him I will leave you with some of his funny sayings - I hope to make you laugh today in honor of my Dad ....

"We have more fun than people"

"How tall do you weigh?"

"Do you walk to work or carry a lunch"

"You didn't eat that did you?" (which he would say if he went in to the bathroom after someone had done their "daily constitution"...) :-)

"Get Bent" (he never really swore so if he was upset at someone, and only if it were a guy he would say "Get Bent"...

He was a real joker too. His sister Eva lived with us for a while and she was going on a date and he hid her false teeth!!!

If you were an over-night guest at our house expect to have your bed "short-sheeted"

and I could go on, but you get the gist, :-)

So Dad - "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" - and like the song says - "I would give everything I own, just to have you back again..............."





......and I realized that I only needed to take some parts of other posts about my Dad and blend them here - his amazing life has no new events to write about - it is all said and done. I remember him and now, you will too. :-)


I love you Dad....

Gimpy.

and for some reason I can't remove one of the songs - so it is on here twice. Perhaps my Dad's sense of humor, huh? :-)

23 comments:

Iktomi said...

wow those are fun and interesting stories. your dad was quite a guy. :) thanks for sharing him with me!

Gail said...

HI IKTOMI-

You are so welcome. And ya, he was quite a guy, indeed. :-)

Love Gail
peace.....

Shen said...

I really love the bottle opener anectdote. What a wonderful rememberance of your father.

Gail said...

HI SHEN

I am so honored to have the bottle opener. I have a picture of it in another post. I will have to see which one and let you know.

Love Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI AGAIN SHEN

The post with the bottle opener is dated 12-8-09.

Patricia Singleton said...

Gail, thank you for sharing your dad's love through your article. You were blessed to have a dad like him. He sounds like the kind of dad that I always dreamed of having. His sense of humor reminds me of my husband, always wanting to see people laugh. That is a fantastic quality in any person.

I have been reading your comments to Shen and decided to come to visit. I am glad that I did. Thank you for sharing your joy and your dad.

Gail said...

HI PATRICIA

I am so happy you came by and that you enjoyed "meeting" my Dad. :-) Come by any time, k?

Love Gail
peace.....

Cinner said...

Gail, I loved hearing about your dad. He sounds priceless, loved him hiding his sisters false teeth...oh my...You must get a lot of your ways from your Dad. I can hear your laugh right now as I think about it. love to you. hugs..

Gail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gail said...

HI CINNER

Oh yes, I am laughing right out loud recalling his many, funny antics. thank you so much for appreciating him through me.

Love you girl
Gail
peace.....

Choices said...

What a nice tribute to your Dad. Such a loving man. You do have lots of memories of him.

Take care.

Diana said...

Your dad sounded like a great guy Gail. A real man's man! I loved the story about the bottle opener, that really was amazing. I am so happy that you are fortunate enough to have those wonderful memories of your dad!
Love Di ♥

Whitemist said...

Great post about an amazing man.
You have great memories to live with.
The can opener is something beyond belief.
Laughter works, all the time!

Eileen said...

Gail, this was beautiful and joyful!

And even though it's been years and years now, doesn't it seem like just yesterday he was here?
That's how I feel about my loved ones that have passed, especially those that have been gone twenty plus years, when I think of the events of my life that they were missing from, it seems impossible. It's like I remember them being there even though they weren't (other than in spirit that is).

I'm glad you have all these wonderful memories, Gail, and thanks so much for sharing your Dad with us. He sounds like a very loving man, very generous of heart, and I LOVE his sense of humor!
"We have more fun than people" is priceless! I'll have to remember that one!

Great post!
Love to you,
Eileen

Bernie said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful dad, full of love, humor and kindness. It is nice to have these warm memories as it keeps up close to our loved ones always....:-)Hugs

Gail said...

HI CHOICES-

thank you for celebrating myDadwith me

HI DIANA

"thanks" and ya, that bottle opener story is amazing huh!! I wrote a post about it with a picture

HI JOEY

and thank you too. And that bottle opener story always gets to folks, amazing huh


HI EILEEN

and it warmed me all over to know that one ofmy Dad's sayings will live on with you. "thank you"

HO BERNIE

"thank you" for sharing in my Dad's birthday celebration with me


Love to you all
Gail
peace.....

Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan said...

What a lovely tribute to your Father. My Father passed away on my birthday last year Nov 1.
Hugs, Katherine

Mark said...

You were blessed with an amazing Dad. This was a wonderful tribute to him. Thank-you for sharing your memories!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What wonderful memories to treasure...always...it is so hard to say "goodbye," isn't it? The Bread song made me cry...I'd forgotten it, but it is beautiful...and expresses just how I feel. Thank you for this beautiful post, dear Gail! Love, Janine XO

Tramp said...

Gail
What a wondeful post.
Tramp

Gail said...

HI KATIE-

Oh my, your Dad passed on your birthday. It is a mixed blessing I think - both an honor and a sad reminder. So nice of you to come by and celebrate my Dad with me :-)

HI MARK-

I am so glad you came by to celebrate my Dad's life with me.


HI JANINE

Oy yes, that song by 'Brad" gets me e every time. I never knew he wrote it about his Dad that died. And as always, I am SO happy to see you. :-)


HI TRAMP

I am so glad you liked the post. He was quite a guy!


Love to you all
Gail
peace.....

Clueless said...

(((hugs)))

Gail said...

HI CLUELESS

thanks!!

Love Gail
peace.....