Oh, the Memories!
Daddy passed away almost 17 years ago and I still miss him every day. So this Father’s Day I wanted to take this opportunity to honor him by sharing some of my favorite memories of him. Maybe one of these will bring back special memories of you and your own Dad. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I did in writing it!
My earliest memory of my Daddy is when I was no more than 3 years old. I was so excited to show him my new barrettes. I remember him picking me up and tossing me playfully in the air telling me how very pretty I looked with them in my hair! Why that memory stuck, I have no idea. But, I’m certainly glad it did as I treasure it.
My Dad was one of those men who knew how to make or fix anything. You name it, he could do it! I cherish the times I was his “assistant” and was able to be a part of the projects he worked on. And oh my, did he have an amazing workshop and tool selection. We were allowed to borrow his tools IF we put them back exactly where we got them from!
In my heart, I know HE is why I love DIY projects. I learned from the best there was! I just wish he was still here so that I could talk to him not only about projects but about life in general!
Did your Dad have an organizer made out of baby food jars that were affixed to a board by their lids to store nails, washers, screws, etc.? His was hung over the workbench and was also several sided so it could be rotated easily to find just what was needed without taking up a ton of space!
Those Precious Reminders
Certain scents will always remind me of him. Coffee is definitely one of them and so is toast. He used to love to take a very thin slice of chocolate cake and lay it on top of a piece of toast! I’m pretty sure that’s why I love chocolate cake!
As a kid, I didn’t like plain oatmeal, so Daddy would put Nestle’s Quick in it for me so I would eat it. To this day, I still love chocolate oatmeal! 😉
Please don’t judge until you try it! LOL, It’s like the no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies!
Daddy always smelled of Aqua Velva cologne and Wrigley’s Spearmint gum. These two items always made excellent choices for us kids to give him for Christmas, birthdays and Father’s Day! I’m sure when he passed away he probably had a cabinet full of the cologne. Occasionally, I will seek out Aqua Velva in the store just so I can smell it again! Sigh…I still love how it smells.
The scent of a lumber yard always takes me back to outings with my Dad. My brother and I usually went along for the ride and always enjoyed following Daddy while he selected what he needed for a project. If I was good, I always got a dime to ride the mechanical pony at the front of the store! Which was pretty much my favorite thing in the whole world when I was little! Isn’t it every girls’ dream to have a horse?
Horses and Such
We were lucky, we did have two horses for a while when we were kids! Daddy came home with a Shetland pony named Hobo as a surprise! This pony was one of the orneriest creatures I ever knew! One of Hobo’s favorite things to do was to sit down when we would try to ride him, or he would try to scrape you off on trees or on the side of the barn! He also liked to hold his breath when getting saddled so that when you tried to get on, the saddle would spin around to his belly!
Our Quarter Horse, Shadow was only green broke. It was always an adventure when we tried to ride her! She was certainly a pretty horse, but much too wild to ride!
I did love the saddles we had for the horses though. Hobo’s was a blue bareback pad with stirrups and strap in place of the saddle horn. Shadow’s was a lovely tooled leather one that we kept in the basement in the winter! Needless to say, that saddle made for a great pretend horse to ride!
Daddy was great at creating toys for us kids as well. One winter, he made a lovely sled for us to use. We waxed the runners so that it would glide over the snow. Boy, did we have a lot of fun with that!
There was one summer us kids thought it would be fun to have a tandem bicycle. So Daddy tried to make us one, it never quite worked like he had hoped, but we sure had fun trying!
We made kites and sling shots numerous times out of scraps in his workshop. To me, this was better than anything that could have come from a store.
My grandparents lived on a lake less than an hour from us. We fished there often which was always fun! We also went to different lakes to fish sometimes too! To me, this was even more excellent. We would load up early in the morning and head out for a day of fishing. The peacefulness of quietly sitting and watching a bobber on a glassy lake surface can’t be beat! It didn’t matter to me if we didn’t catch a lot, it was just fun spending time together!
Even though it was very cold I truly loved ice fishing with Daddy. He had made this wonderful sled device that held all the fishing gear as well as a lantern that you could warm your hands with. Plus there was always a thermos full of coffee or cocoa to enjoy.
The Shasta Trailer
In my opinion, we had the most amazing camper EVER! We had an aqua and white Shasta with silver wings on the back! It was a real beauty…someday, I hope to own one. A girl can dream, can’t she?
We traveled far and wide with that Shasta! The best were the trips Up North into the UP of Michigan to rustic campgrounds where we fished all day and even saw the occasional moose. In the evenings we would sit under the stars after our fish fries and enjoy the campfire.
Daddy was meticulous in how he maintained everything and the trailer was no exception! He redid the interior adding a bathroom, some extra drawers, and he even changed how the beds were laid out, making it more comfortable for our family of six!
Sometimes Daddy would let us use the camper for sleepovers with our friends! That was always a treat! It made us feel so grown up.
The Swimming Pool
We had a pristine above ground pool we thoroughly enjoyed as did many of the neighbor kids! I remember when he built the fence around the pool he let each of us make handprints in the concrete around the posts. Then he helped us write our names and the date he built the fence near our handprints in the concrete.
He found this giant raft for us to use in the pool. If I remember correctly it was probably 6’x6′! We loved that thing and enjoyed for many summers!
As an adult, I wanted a pool for my own kids. We had a lot of fun with it as well. I had to admit to Daddy that I never realized how much work he did to maintain our pool when I was a kid. And how I probably should have been more appreciative to him at the time. I remember he just laughed and nodded in agreement!
Occasionally on Saturday mornings my brother and I would go with Dad to his office. This was always an adventure as we would pretend like we were special agents and prowl around the building. In the warehouse, there was an old 10¢ Coca-Cola machine that had the coldest Cokes in glass bottles anywhere. If we were good and let him get his work done, we each got a bottle! Sometimes on the way home, we would even stop for Coney Island hot dogs downtown! YUMMY!
Growing up in the sixties and seventies is something I’m so thankful for! It was certainly a quieter time. Saturday nights hold one of my favorite memories with my Daddy. The CBS TV lineup was the best EVER! I remember snuggling up to him to watch, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show! I know there were others in that mix over the years, but these were by far our favorites!
Sometimes Daddy and I would re-enact scenes from The Carol Burnette show. Do you remember Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins? That was one of our favorites! And Daddy could do Mr. Tudball perfectly! I still laugh myself silly watching YouTube videos of this show! Daddy so enjoyed Tim Conway’s ability to make people laugh with the many characters he would play!
Even after my parents divorced when I was a teenager, Daddy would still do special things with me on Saturday nights. Whether it was taking me to see a movie or maybe it was going out to eat. These are still very much treasured in my heart.
After I started working when I was in high school I wasn’t able to do things on Saturday nights very often. So instead, Daddy would pick me up before school to take me to breakfast at a little diner that was in town. We had some wonderful conversations during those breakfasts!
All the Little Things
When Daddy traveled, I always looked forward to possibly getting a postcard from him! He would usually address it to Me-Shell or Chele, which of course made me feel very special! Sometimes I tucked notes somewhere in his suitcase letting him know I was going to miss him and to be careful. When I was a teenager sometimes I would get in my car to find a note from him tucked into my dash!
Right before I started junior high, Daddy and I were in the hardware store and I was admiring a watch in the Timex case on the counter. He came over to see what I was looking at and when he realized what it was he told me to pick the one I wanted! He said I was growing up and should have a watch like all young ladies do! Needless to say, I was over the moon with my new burgundy colored Timex!
Daddy loved to play the harmonica and to whistle. To this day if I hear someone whistling I can’t help but think of him. It’s kind of sad because I don’t think many people whistle anymore. I guess it may be due to all of the devices we carry with us that play music at the touch of a button. When my girls were little he gave them each a harmonica to play as they loved it when he played his.
I don’t think he ever met a stranger either. He could take up a conversation with anyone and make them feel at ease. That’s probably why he was such a good salesman. And he had a laugh that filled a room and a smile that could light it up! These are what I miss the most, that and his silliness!
I think my Daddy truly loved being a Grandpa. He was his happiest when he was surrounded by family. Pontoon rides, games of red rover and cookouts were enjoyed by grandkids and adults alike.
After Daddy retired, he and my step-mom purchased a house in Northern Michigan. Such wonderful memories were created up there. One summer Daddy surprised us by having a seaplane land on the lake in front of his house that pulled up to his dock to take each group of us up for a flight!
He would have a huge campfire at night for us and would play his harmonica so we could sing along! One time to play a trick on the grandkids, he recorded the sounds of a loon and had it playing way out on the dock while telling a ghost story! Oh, how the grandkids enjoyed that. I remember their eyes were as big as saucers!
There were always boat rides and sandbars to enjoy as well! He knew all the places to go to. There was always a cooler packed full of goodies on these excursions so no one ever went hungry or thirsty.
There were trips to Mackinac Island that included horse and carriage rides around the island. Mackinac will always be a magical place for me as it holds so very many precious memories.
I remember when I found out that April that Daddy was sick. My heart was broken. He had always been so strong and was a person that never slowed down. I kept thinking, how can this be? And I still needed him…I didn’t want to be parentless at 37.
In my mind, I can still see his strong hands that were so gentle when putting a bandage on a scraped knee or that smoothed my hair when I wasn’t feeling well.
Sadly, cancer took him too quickly. I was devastated when he passed away not even 3 months later. I’m so thankful for the visit my two daughters and I had with him just weeks before. I remember wishing and praying there was something I could do for this amazing man that had loved me so much and had taken care of me.
As sick as he was, though, he still tried to make sure we had a good time during our visit. He took us out to eat and then we drove through the sweet small town he lived in Up North. He made sure to take me past the old drug store so I could see the hollyhocks blooming along the side of the building. My step-mom told me a few years later that this was the last time Daddy drove anywhere or went out to eat.
It was so hard saying goodbye knowing that I would never see him again. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to tell him how much I loved him and to hear him say it to me in person that last time.
Not long after Daddy passed away. I remember asking for a sign so that I would know Daddy was okay in Heaven. Shortly after making this request, I had the most realistic dream…Daddy was out on his dock by his boat and he looked so strong and healthy like I remembered when I was little! I walked up to him and he hugged me tightly. He was warm from the sunshine and was so tan like he always got in the summer. He reassured me that he was just fine and not to worry anymore.
When I awoke that morning, I felt so much better just knowing that he was happy and healthy again! I also knew that I would see him again someday.
Each year when I go home on vacation, I still visit this wonderful little town. I always make sure to eat at that restaurant and to drive by the hollyhocks as a way of paying tribute to him.
When I was visiting last spring, as I came out of the bakery downtown, an older gentleman in a plaid flannel shirt held the door for me. I instantly got a lump in my throat as he so reminded me of Daddy. As I walked blurry-eyed to my car, I heard the man whistling…
Please feel free to comment below! I would love for you to share a memory of your own Dad!
So what’s next on the blog?
The Pink Sisterhood ~ Part 4. An update on how my radiation treatments went and how I’m healing and dealing post radiation. Please join me then! As always, thanks for following along on this journey we call life!
P.S. I hope my siblings don’t mind me sharing these old photos of them! These were just too wonderful not to use in this post! 🙂