Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Today was a day of reflection for me. For some reason I felt a great "connection" to my memories and thoughts. I would have made a visit to the cemetery today, but it was so gloomy and rainy. I'll do it in a day or so.
My morning thoughts went back to this day 37 years ago when I was living in South Carolina. I knew my father had been ill for some time. He'd gone through an aneurysm of the aorta in the late 60's. He recovered after heart surgery, but had several strokes after that. When my mother could no longer take care of him at home in 1972, after another stroke, he became a resident of Case Convalescent Center here in town. Mother would visit him daily, and I saw him when I came to town.
On this day 37 years ago, my father's heart could no longer fight the fight. He died that afternoon. My mother called me, I packed a suitcase, took a week off work and drove to Ohio to be with my family. Because the Thanksgiving holiday was so close to the funeral time frame, I extended my stay beyond the standard three-day work bereavement time. There was much to do; my mother handled it with her usual grace, and I was here to help. They had been married 36 years in September of that year.
I was very close to my father, being a typical daddy's girl when I was young. My favorite youthful memories go back to early childhood when he made me taste an olive when I didn't think I'd like it. I have loved green olives ever since. My dad hated spinach, and passed that on to me before I could walk. When I was in middle school, my father quit smoking and took up the 'ice cream before bedtime' habit instead. He got me hooked on ice cream with him.
I remember sitting on his lap at home while he worked at his desk. He taught me drafting, because he was an drafting engineer, which I used later in my work life. I supervised a graphic arts department at a naval contracting firm where we did electrical and piping drawings for naval ships. That's when I realized I would need glasses from then on.
My father picked me up from school when I broke my finger in gym class, and took me to the emergency room; he worked hard and sent me to college; and was always proud of me no matter what. When he retired, I enjoyed listening to his stories. I spent as much time with him as I could in his latter years. He was a huge influence on my life, I had a good childhood and better adulthood because of him.
I am still learning things about my father, years after his death. For example, I found his original papers for his patent of the battery terminal cable connector from 1932; his patent on another business machine I'm still investigating; his attempt to work with an ophthalmologist to invent an eye exam machine; and his plans and layout canvas for a horse race game that he never got finished. To this day, my father still amazes me and I miss him very much.