When I was a little girl, my daddy always made me feel so special. I remember when I was in 6th grade, it was our last day of school, he sent me my first roses. He sent them to me to celebrate my last day of elementary school and the beginning of the next journey his little girl would experience. He always loved me unconditionally and told me often that he loved me.
He would take us to Sunday school classes and have us attend church, he would come on special holidays. When we got home from church he would have bacon and eggs waiting for us. One of my favorite pictures is a church directory photo that was taken at United Protestant Church in Morgan Park. It reminds me of how close we were then and continue to be today. My father instilled in us a sense of family that we don’t often see today. We Love deeply and laugh constantly. Please, don’t get me wrong. We were not without our issues, there were arguments and misunderstandings. Stories that now bring a smile to our faces.
I remember one winter when my brothers were suppose to be doing the dinner dishes, we alternated between the girls and boys. The boys were being boys, not doing what they were suppose to be doing. My dad reacted and threw a salt shaker at my youngest brother, he ducked. Good thing he did too, it would have hit him in the head and likely killed him….okay, maybe maimed him. Unfortunately it was January, subzero temperatures that year. When he ducked the salt shaker, it went through the kitchen window. I’ve never seen the look of fear and impending doom on a face before, but I sure did after that window broke. My brother was disciplined because he wasn’t hit….maybe more accurately because he didn’t stop it from going through the window. Please don’t think that my parents were abusive, times were different. This was a time when children respected their parents, whether it was right or wrong. After he repaired the window we went sledding at the Zoo.
Dad would take us smelting in the spring, picnics at Chub Lake and on the North Shore of Lake Superior in the summer months, fireworks behind the Meirhoff building on the Bay in Canal Park. We didn’t have a cabin or extra money for trips, we did have opportunity to build lots of memories.
Dad was always our advocate. We always knew that he would fight for us. He had a saying, “Always tell the truth, it only ever has to be told once because it is always the same.” The first movie he ever took us to was Bambie, all through our life he used a line from the movie to convict us. If he heard us talking about someone , he would say “Remember what thumper said? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” He taught us to be honest, our integrity was something no one could ever take from us.
He seemed to get softer as we got older. On my wedding day I was standing outside the church door with him. He turned to me and said ” you don’t have to go through with this, we can turn and walk out that door right now.” I told him I had no reservations, he opened the door and we began our walk. I turned to look at him, he was sobbing as we walked down the isle. I was Daddy’s little girl and I always will be. Amazingly enough, he fell as in love with my husband as I did. No longer with reservations, but Dad was happy that Dave was who I chose to spend my life with. Actually, quite often he would take Dave’s side over mine…. guess it was the good old boys club.
He certainly loved his grandchildren, they were everything to him. He had so many songs that he sang to each one of them. I love to hear them sing those same songs to their own children today. It was so obvious how he felt about each one of them, he said it with his eyes they just lit up when he was with them. Zachery was his first grandchild, they really had a special relationship. I am so thankful that I had a father who raised me to cherish people and not things, to give more than I take, and to treat others better than I deserve to be treated. He taught me so many things, but he didn’t teach me how to live without him. March 1, I remember my Daddy. It has been three years since I last heard him say “I Love You baby” , which by the way is the last words he said to me.
On the valentine’s day before he passed, he had purchased a necklace and a pair of earrings for mom, and two cards. He gave her the necklace and one of the cards. The year after he passed, I gave her the earrings and the second card. In the end, his handwriting had gotten difficult to read, what wasn’t difficult to read was “I will Love you Forever” . I thought this would be her last valentines gift from dad, she did as well.
When my father passed away, I asked mom for his clothing. It took me nearly two years before I would know what to do with them. Just before Valentines Day before the second anniversary of his passing, I had a great idea. One last gift to mom from dad. I made mom a quilt out of his clothing. I did not wash them, I wanted his scent to still be on them. When I gave the quilt to her, she was consumed by emotions. All of the big stars are his favorite shirts. It was a gift of love and healing. I felt like I had an opportunity to visit with dad one more time as I constructed this quilt of love. I have since made four additional quilts from his clothing. I made a quilt very similar to this one for my husband on our 25 wedding anniversary. He was so touched, my dad had become a father to him. He misses him dearly. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t hear his wisdom, see his smile or hear that mischievous laughter. He was loved by all who knew him. He accepted you where you were, and was a true and loyal friend. One of the Raleigh Street boys. I will post a few more photos, just for fun. Today I dedicate my blog to my first love, my Daddy! Thank You for everything you were to me, I look forward to the time when we can see one another again. I miss you so very much.