My dad died when I was only 19 and I never really had another father figure after that. Both my grandfathers had already passed away and my mother never remarried. Maybe the lack of a strong male role model in my life says something about who I am today: independent and capable of doing a lot of the “manly” things that need to be done. And yet really, really noticing the void when I don’t have a male around to help me do them.
Memories of my dad also definitely influence the kind of man that I am attracted to. Tom always reminded me a LOT of my dad and I really wished they had been able to meet, because they would have really loved each other.
I don’t have a lot of strong memories about my childhood, since childhood was such a LONG time ago. But here are some of the things I remember about my dad:
Dad had the most wonderful smile and he smiled a LOT! He loved to joke and kid around. He was very playful and loved to make up little goofy names for us and tickle us and make us laugh. He called me Liz or Lizzie even though I was Betsy to everyone else.
He was very handsome. He had that wonderful smile that just lit up his face and that dark wavy hair. He was thin. I remember him as tall dark and handsome but in reality, I don’t think he was very tall.
Dad liked to draw and was pretty good at it. I think I still have some of his drawings around here.
He had a great imagination. I remember dad sitting on my bed and telling me bedtime stories that he made up as he went along. They were really fun stories and always had happy endings.
Dad loved to fish and took the three of us girls fishing after we moved to Florida. I think he even had an old boat at one time when we lived in New Jersey, but I don’t think we ever went out on it.
He knew how to fix things and to make things. He made us a unicycle at one time out of an old tricycle and I even learned how to ride it. He made us a metronome when we had a piano. He liked to make those big balsa wood airplanes and even the plastic model kind.
He had one of those huge, almost room size train sets with tunnels and mountains and trees set up in our basement.
I don’t remember him TEACHING me to ride a bike, but I do remember riding bikes with him. I also remember him teaching me how to drive a stick-shift car. And though I stalled and stripped and tortured his car, he never got mad at me. He never yelled or got impatient. He just had that same loving smile.
Dad loved photography. He took beautiful photos and even developed his own photos when he was younger. He taught me a lot of what I know about photography. I still have one of his old cameras.
He liked to garden. We had beautiful gardens in both New Jersey and here in Florida.
I don’t know if he is the one who taught me how to rebuild a carburetor or change the brake pads on my cars. Knowing me, I may have just checked books out of the library to learn those things.
I’m sure more memories of my dad will come to me throughout the day. But no matter how many come back to me, I’ll always have a huge hole in my life from all the memories that could have been but never were. Its not just that he died when I was 19 but I know that I didn’t spend as much time with him in my teenage years as I could have. I think most teenagers are probably like that. We always think there will be more time.
Anyway, I hope all of you who still have dads in your lives, or those of you who are dads yourselves, will take some time today to make memories of your own. Someday, that’s all that will be left. So work on some happy ones!!