Monday, April 26, 2010
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....
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? :-)
Posted by Gail at 6:40 PM