Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Dad and My Dan

My Dad and Mom and all us kids 1958

I love this picture maybe because of his smile looking down on me. I never thought to ask him while he was alive, What was he thinking? Was his smile genuine or did the photographer set this up? I have a good feeling his smile was genuine.

This is him in the hospital waiting room. A professional photographer from the Pittsburgh Press was there to take photos. I'm glad for it because they probably wouldn't have these photos which I love so much.
Back then father's were kept out of the delivery room. They had a special waiting area where smoking and pacing the floor was common for the new dads to be.
He smoked Pall Malls unfiltered, three packs a day in his later years. His fingers had nicotine stains on his smoking fingers and dirt always under his nails from landscaping.

The Doctor giving Dad the good news... three healthy baby girls.

I wish I knew who he called first. He probably called home, where all my brothers and sister were waiting to know the news. maybe he called his brother who lived next door or his mother.

Don't ya love the phone booth! Just 51 years ago we sat in a booth with coins to call home. Telephone books were usually hanging from underneath. And an operator would assist you if you needed it. I'm so so old!

Proud daddy holding me just after my birth.
My dad died when I was a young woman. I was just 27 years old when he passed away. He was in his late 60's when he died. My father worked very hard all his life to provide for his family. He worked seven days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day. It's sometimes difficult to reflect on his presence in my life now that I am mature. As a child I loved to tell him stories. He always listened and laughed while I talked to him. I remember his laughter with fondness. As a teenager I really disliked him. He chased my friends away, drank to much, drove me crazy with his paranoid accusations, and he actually caused a lot of angst in my life at that time. I would wish he'd give me up to foster care. I even behaved badly hoping to help him throw me out, knowing I'd be happier somewhere else. He threw my other brothers and sisters out, why not me? He never threw me out no matter how bad I was.
Our own family snapshots and professional photos would include a real dad more like my own who before the twins were born decided to be the one to work hard, to worry for their well being, and be there when they needed loved, listened to, laughed with, spanked, fed, nutured, and cared for by a father who unconditionally loved them. I wish so much I could have realized this before my own father passed away. I wish I could thank him for being there and loving us and laughing with me and at me as a child.

Me and Dan and all our kids and grandkids 2007
Thanks for being there when they were born, for calling home when you were late, for running to the store when we ran out of diapers, for paying for their every need, and for your continued love and respect you give each of them.
Thank you, Dan for being a real Dad to all our kids.
A real Dad takes time to listen, laugh, and curl his tongue for a family photo.
Thanks for loving our kids unconditionally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Hope,
That was a beautiful tribute to your father. They just did the best they can...which, often, in our generation, wasn't too good, but it was all they knew. So many were drinkers and smokers. I am glad you know that he loved you.

I love the picture of your family! Beautiful! Hope you are having fun with those kids and grandkids!