January 30, 2011

52 Weeks of Sharing Memories: Memories of Dad (Week 5)

This is Week 5 of our second set of 52 weeks of topics for readers (and me!) to start a genealogy journal. Please join us for Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey We focus on memories of our parents, grandparents and others. We write for our children and grandchildren, that the memories are not lost over time. I hope you are keeping a journal, whether it is private or public, and joining us as we write our memories.

This week brought back memories of my father. I often think about him. My father died shortly after my 14th birthday. It was Christmas Day and I've talked before on my blog about how painful and difficult Christmas was, and still is, for me. But I want my children and grandchildren to know more than that about my dad. So this week I'm writing about my dad - his character, fun times, what I remember and miss the most. You can take part even if you are lucky enough to still have your father with you.

* What was your father like? Describe him physically. Tell us about his personality.

* What is your favourite memory of your father - maybe a family trip? Maybe it was quality time spent just with your dad?

* What was your dad's occupation?

* Did your father have any hobbies that you remember? What kind of music did he listen to? Did he smoke?

* Where was he born? Who were his parents? Remember you are writing this journal for your descendants and these are all facts they will want to know.

Your children and grandchildren will be thrilled to read the facts about your father but they will also want to know more about him as a person. Did he make dandelion wine? Did he like to cook? My dad loved peanut brittle and used to make it fairly often. I still remember the smell as he baked it in the oven. One of my greatest treasures is the candy thermometer he used!

My dad smoked and his special chair (the DAD chair!) was right beside his little smoking table where his pipes hung. I have that table and it brings back wonderful memories every time I look at it. Dad also smoked cigarettes and used to roll his own. I loved to help, and he would sometimes let me use the cutter after he rolled out the Player's Tobacco into the cigarette paper. Those of course were the days before anyone knew that smoking was bad for your health.

Dad was medium height, and very thin. He loved to socialize and I have hazy memories of him coming home from parties quite happy and jovial. I'm sure a few glasses of his favourite drink added to that festive mood!

He used to go hunting every fall, but never came home with anything. Fishing was another passion. He used to take me with him and we spent many hours together sitting by the river, not talking, just enjoying the quiet. My job was cleaning the fish after we came home and when I was 10 he bought me my own fishing rod. Funny that I have such good memories of our times together fishing but I hate fish and cannot eat it.

Dad also bowled and won many trophies. I wish I had them but my mother got rid of most of Dad's possessions after he died. I remember the year he and my mother (who was also on a bowling league) both won first prizes - turkeys! It was Thanksgiving and that year we had two turkeys - such a treat!

Dad loved dogs and was always bringing home a puppy for us. It really annoyed my mother and it wouldn't take too many months before the current dog would be put down and dad would have strict orders "no more dogs" But a few weeks later he'd come in the front door with a wiggling crying bundle of puppyhood.

Dad was a member of several organizations - the Lion's Club for one. I can't remember exactly what others but I do have some of his membership pins which I managed to grab and hide before my mother tossed everything.

We didn't have a television or a radio but Dad had a small record player which he loved. I grew up listening to show tunes (South Pacific, Oklahoma were a couple I remember, I think I memorized every single song on those records!) and George Formby (Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight is one song that haunts me to this day) as well as some Irish singers whose names I can't recall. My mom didn't care for music in the house so Dad tended to play his records when she was out.

Every night after supper Dad would go to the kitchen sink - one of this big deep white ones, not the stainless steel kind we have now - and pour vinegar into a small shot glass. That went into a larger glass of water and he'd drink it down. He never told me why but I suspect he thought it was good for him, it surely wasn't for the taste! Of course I tried the same thing but it was nasty!

Dad also loved to find properties up north where he might one day build a cottage. So off we'd go in the muggy heat of an Ontario summer to find these sites. Dad would take us as far as he could by car and then we'd head off through the woods - mosquitoes and black files pestering us constantly, sweating in the muggy July heat, with Dad trying to follow the map he had. I was hot and miserable and itching like crazy from all the insect bites. Mother and Dad would argue about the right direction to go. Branches of bushes would snap back and slap at my face as we fought our way through dense forest. We rarely made it to any of the sites and I was always terrified of bears hiding behind trees waiting to jump out at us.

Once my sister and I begged our parents to let us stay in the car after he parked us in the middle of a very dense forest. We sat and waited for hours for mom and dad to return. We were unbearably hot but afraid to open the windows more than a crack, or get out of the car in case there were bears. We had no water so we were extremely thirsty. It was so frightening to me that I actually wished I were in the woods with mom and dad!

What would you like your children and grandchildren to know about your dad? You can share here in the comment section of this blog post, or on Sharing Memories Facebook page or on your own blog or keep it private in a journal. I hope you'll join us!


Jazzie Casas said...

I'm a single dad of 2 age 2 and 5. I find your site so interesting and helpful. I hope I have much time each day to drop by and check your site for recent post. By the way I really appreciate the effort for sharing this.. Thank you..

hummer said...

Thanks for the prompt will join you...