My Dad as a kid at Rock-A-Way Beach circa 1926 (bottom left)
As my Dad grows older it becomes hard to be away from him on Father's Day. I will be absent from the family dinner today as the rest of the clan (minus my brother who lives in NYC) gathers in honor of the day.
I wish I had paid closer attention to the stories my Dad told about growing up in NYC. I wish I had written down all the stories he told about WWII. They are locked in his mind now, the key lost forever.
What I have are my memories of my Dad. My Dad's father was from the old country and an immigrant. He was one of the unlucky ones who could not handle it, was an alcoholic and abandoned his family when my Dad was six. It is amazing that he did not have a typical role model to show him how to be a Dad yet he did the best he could. To all his six children, he was the greatest.
I realize that now.
We sat at the table and had dinner together every evening. He would ask questions about school and then have his nightly quiz. "What is the capital of California?". "How do you spell prestidigitator?"
When I began High School in another city, my Dad would take me to school in the mornings on his way to work at IBM. He was late for work for four years! I remember dreading those drives in the morning before they happened! What would we talk about for the 25 minute drive. I don't think it ever really was a problem.
Years and years later when I moved to Florida and did not like it and wanted to return home, my parents allowed me to stay with them until I got back on my feet. He was retired by that time and most afternoons we would sit and have lunch together. Those are the best memories for me being with my Dad. He talked and talked about his youth, the war, his mother, his family, his wonderful life.
Sometimes now, my Dad will lean forward in his chair and point a finger at me and announce to all others in the room, "Mary was the best swimmer out of all my kids! She was a champion!"
I love those moments.
I love my Dad, and I miss my Dad. He was the greatest and it is because of him and his unyielding faith in each of his off spring that has inspired each of us to pursue our own dreams and reach them.
Happy Fathers Day to the Best Dad that ever lived.