Saturday, June 16, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Here it is, Father's Day, and my memories of my Dad are sketchy at best, because he died when I was seventeen. But, here are a few things I remember vividly.

1. All of the outdoor photographs I have of him show him with one arm across his chest because he shaded his eyes with that hand until just before the picture was snapped.

2. He got me a dog, and then was irritated because I paid so much attention to it and sometimes brought it into the house. Turns out, I was allergic to it and we had to give it away.

3. We had a huge evergreen tree in our front yard, and Daddy used to chase me around and around.

4. Daddy loved trains. We used to go down to the train station and watch them coming in and going out. He knew several of the engineers, and one of them let him ride in the cab in the cab on a short run. I imagine that could have gotten the engineer in some trouble, but it was one of the hilights of daddy's life.

4. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, and was very serious about it. Back then, it was a much more secretive organization than it is now.

5. He used to take me with him when he went on rounds at the hospital, and sometimes when he made house calls. Yes, back then, they actually made house calls. At St. Vincent's Infirmary in Little Rock, he left me with the nuns, who spoiled me and let me play on their typewriters in the office. I always came away from those visits with cherry-red cheeks, from where the nuns pinched them. Ouch!

6. We took a road trip through some of the western U.S. when I was eight or nine. I was bored, of course, so Daddy took me to a movie in Denver - "Broken Arrow", with Jeff Chandler as Cochise. It was one of the two movies he took me to. The other one was "The Greatest Show On Earth, with Charlton Heston and Betty Hutton.

7. He watched "The Fall of the House of Usher" on television with me late one night, because he was afraid it would scare me if I watched it alone.

8. He sat out on the back steps with me when a boy I liked turned down my invitation to a dance that my school social club held. I think he was as heartbroken as I was.

9. He took me to Travelers baseball games, and to Fair Park so I could ride the merry-go-round and have cotton candy.

10. At the State Fair , he tried very hard to win me a prize at the game booths, but, he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with those tennis balls.

11. I wanted a stuffed white poodle for Christmas one year, so Daddy went out and got me one - he thought. I can't remember whether I told him that what he actually got me was a stuffed, white lamb. He was awfully proud of that purchase.

12. His office was across the street from a music store, so when some new record came out that I wanted, he would pop in there on his way home and bring it to me.

13. He told me bedtime stories, and kept my closet free of monsters.

14. He hated Harry Truman with a passion, because Truman wanted what back then was called "Socialized Medecine". It's too bad Harry didn't get his way.

15. His parents were divorced and he hated having to go home to an empty house after school so much that, after he married, he would call home as he was leaving the office, ostensibly to see if mother needed him to bring home anything. She always made it a point to be there when he called because he wouldn't come home until she was there.

16. His brother died at a very early age, leaving a wife and two grade-school children. Daddy took care of them from then on, making sure they had whatever they needed or wanted, just as he did my mother and me.

17. He loved going to the races, and took me for the first time when I was 16. The second time he took me was for my 17th birthday, and that was the day he died. I never went back to the races. Ever.

18. He was outgoing and fun-loving. He had a group of friends who always loved to play practical jokes. They also loved to throw lit firecrackers down the mail slots in the Donaghey Building. It sounded like a bomb going off.

19. He was a proud papa when the neighborhood kids met him when he got home one evening with, "Uncle Doc, Uncle Doc, Betty hit a home run!"

20. He loved his little girl. He spoiled me rotten and I'll always regret that he didn't live to love and spoil his grandchildren. They would have been crazy about him.

I still miss him.

17 comments:

Lorna said...

Betty,
A beautiful tribute to your father. My father died when I was 28 and I miss him everyday. I was much closer to him than to my Mom so his passing left a huge hole in my heart. My dad used to take us downtown every Saturday night to watch the Land O Corn pass through town........he was a train buff, too. Hang on to those memories, Betty. hugssssssssss

grannymar said...

Nice memories, you are so lucky to have them.

lv2scpbk said...

I enjoyed reading about your dad. I clicked on your site from someone elses.

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gawilli said...

These are wonderful memories, Betty. I was just a year older when I lost my dad and have often thought the same thing...I wish he would have known the rest of his family, and they, him.

We are blessed to have good thoughts of our dads. Happy Father's Day!

Sister--Three said...

I am sure many folks counted on your Dad...not just his family...he held many a hand and eased their hurts. What a special guy. Love is what makes Dad's special. You Dad seemed to feel a great responsibility.

The 4th Sister said...

My Father has been dead almost 20 years and I still miss him terribly. I spoke to a psychologists about that one time because I think it is so strange to miss him so much. The psychologists said this was normal; she was probably more nuts than me. I would just give anything to have another day with him.

her indoors said...

Betty that was lovely, it is sad when we lose our parents, but the memories we have are so precious and to be able to share them is wonderful, thank you

Kell said...

You still have many great memories even though you were so young when you lost him. I feel like I know him a little better now.

Nancy said...

Betty,

I know this is off subject but could you tell us whether it is worth the trip from New York or Philadelphia to Little Rock to visit the Clinton Library.

Please tell us your impressions of the Library.

Thanks!

Betty said...

Nancy: I haven't been to the Clinton Library, but my son has and he says it's awesome, and friends of mine agree. I think Little Rock itself is worth a trip, but then I'm biased. It's my home town. lol

nancy said...

Hello Betty,

I have been in Little Rock and agree that the city alone would be worth the trip,and thanks for your son and your friend's favorable review.

I hope to visit the library this year.

susan said...

Oh Betty, what wonderful memories you have of your father. Thank you for sharing them...

John said...

Lovely memories. 'Spoiled rotten'. That's what dads are for.

Newt said...

That was wonderful. I'm a little teary eyed. Your memories of your father are wonderful and special, and I'm so glad you shared. I wish I could have met him. My dad is sitting right next to me while I type this. I am very thankful to have him in my life. He is my hero.

Arkansas Songbird said...

Oh, Betty, that was beautiful.

Patsy said...

You had a wonderful father! I am so glad that you have all of those memories to remember him by. You will always miss him, no matter how old you get.

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