Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dad lived until October 22nd 1984


My 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, :-)

I miss you still and oh how you live on.

I love you,  Gimpy-Gays


23 comments:

Whitemist said...

i read your post on your dad now for a least 2 years and it is always heartwarming (i at least remember some of the details that are the same, even if it is different post).
Good to remember those who lived before us...

Just Be Real said...

Gail, thank you for sharing such fond memories of your precious father. Blessings to you dear one.

Gail said...

HI JOEY - I love that you know of these memories of my Dad - it speaks to our continuing friendship and to his purposeful life :-)
Love you man
Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI JBR - he was a gem and I am so glad you came by to celebrate his life thanks SO much
Love Gail
peace.....

Cinner said...

Gail, I too remember reading about your Dad, He really does sound like he was a wonderful man. I am so glad you have all of these memories. When I read about him he kind of reminds me of my own Dad, I think the strength or something. anyway sending love your way dear one. hugs.

Teacher's Pet said...

What love you share through this post. I am thankful that you had such a loving Dad....
I remember reading about the can opener in another of your blogs about your Dad.
I cried when I read this blog....knowing how much you miss your Dad. I hug you from here...
Love,
Jackie

Gail said...

HI CINNER - so nice to have you celebrate my Dad with me again - I love that you already knew.

HI JACKIE - so glad you remember the can opener post, amazing huh? And I am so happy you are here with me today to remember him. sigh...

Love to you both
Gail
peace.....

Teacher's Pet said...

Thinking about you today, Gail.
I know that it will be a hard day for you....but know that thoughts of friends surround you.
Love,
Jackie

Finding Pam said...

Gail, this is a lovely tribute to your Dad. My mother died at age 64.

I don't have the best memories of her. I am glad that you had a wonderful Dad.

Gail said...

HI PAM - good to see you, how are you feeling? And I am glad you came by to share i nmy Dad's memory, it means a lot to me.

Hi JACKIE - thank you so much for all your kindness and caring - I feel your love and it is wonderful.

Love to you both
Gail
peace.....

Wonderingsoul said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your dad. Just beautiful...
No wonder you are who you are Gail.

x

Gail said...

HI WONDERINGSOUL - I am so happy to see you here AND I SO appreciate you sharing in my Dad's life with me. He was one of the 'good guys' :-)

Love to you always my brave friend
Gail
peace.....

Birdie said...

Hi Gail, thank you for sharing the sweet memories of your Dad. I read it with one breath! much love Gail!

Gail said...

HI BIRDIE -
thanks for sharing in one of me greatest gifts.
Love Gail
peace.....

Andy said...

Lovely memories, Gail. Simply lovely

Gail said...

HI ANDY -
thanks for sharing in my Dad's life with me :-)
Love Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI TRISH -
thanks for being here, sharing and "knowing"
Love you girl
Gail
peace......

Margie said...

Gail, this is a beautiful post!
Very touching!
I know you must treasure all the beautiful memories!
Thank you for sharing!

Margie x

Gail said...

HI MARGIE - thanks s much for sharing in my wonderrful memories of my Dad :-) Means SO much
Love to you
Gaul
peace.....

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Dearest Gail, Your fond memories of your Dad ever so heartwarming. Thank you for the love they express. Gail, I know so very well the significance of October for you. I applaud your journey out of the hurt and darkness of a time past and into the knowing love and light within your BEING. In Celebration you are dear friend.

Much love,
Rose Marie

Andy said...

Hoping you're OK and safe and warm right now.

Gail said...

HI ANDY - thank you so much for checking in. we jut got power back, tough storm to survive. but we made it thru,
Love you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI ROSEMARIE - yes, a celebration indeed. My truth is not my curse, or my darkness any more it is my strength and light. Healing is life changing. I know you know and I love that you do.
Love Gail
peace.....