Retired in Delaware wrote a post today called "Pop". It was about his relationship, or lack thereof, with his father. Ron and I became buddies in 1950 while in third grade. I met his father on occasion when I visited Ron at his homes 9he moved three times in that period) and I admit, his father always scared me. He was a big man and always seemed to glare at me.
As to my friend visiting me, I am sure at times my dad might have been there, but my dad wasn't often at home. He was a long-haul trucker and usually on the road. However, this was fine with me. I always worried what my dad would do to embarrass me or upset my friends if he was home.
Our dads were contemporaries. Ron's father died in the year 2000 at the age of 80, and so would have been 91 this year. My dad is still living and is age 92. The men even knew each other at one time, back around when Ron and I were born, both men worked in a steel mill in Coatesville. Both had sons who I guess they couldn't quite understand. Both smoked pipes, although Ron's dad continued smoking all his life and mine quit at some point in middle age. In my youth my dad always seemed to have that pipe between his lips and that is how I sketched him in 1966.
I was also drawn to the photographs Ron included of himself with his dad. I don't know how many he has altogether. He had five on his Blog that ranged from when Ron was a baby until he was in his early forties, and I have pictures Ron sent me of he and his dad as late as 1999. It made me wonder how many photos I had of me and dad together.
I was 25 when the one on the right was taken. It was our June Celebration dinner. My grandmother, mother and I were all born in June. My mother and father were married in June and of course, these dates all fell near Father's Day. I think this restaurant was called The Warehouse and was located outside of Philadelphia, perhaps in Conshohocken or Manayunk. Clockwise from the left sit yours truly, my grandmother, my dad, my mom and my wife.
Perhaps that says a lot about our relationship right there.
In this photo, left to right, is our oldest daughter, Laurel, my wife (no longer a blond), me again, our middle child, Noelle (who looks thrilled to be there) , our son, Darryl, my mom (snapping a picture) and my dad talking to someone elsewhere.
Most the other photos are when I was very young.
This was the first, when I was a little bitty babe of three months, he standing out in the yard at Whitford holding me on a September day.
Here we sit on the porch after moving into Downingtown that December. Both the country house and the city house were rentals and the homes of my maternal grandparents. My mom and pop didn't have a place of their own at this point and when this last picture was taken, World War II had just begun and my dad would soon be sailing away for several years.
A couple years later and I am two and my dad is home on leave. He dressed me up in a look-a-like uniform and they had this family portrait taken.
And then not long after he was off again and gone for a few more years.
One wonders if we would have bonded and been closer if the war had not separated us in those years.
Amazing as it seems, we have to jump ahead 18 years to find my father and I together in another photo. I was just turned 20 by a month when this photo was taken after a fishing trip for tuna out of Indian River Inlet off Bethany Beach, Delaware.
This was one of two such trips.
The other fishing trip.
Someone snapped these photos of us with the catch of the day. Here is my bride-to-be and I, then my dad and the captain of the boat.
My fiancee and soon-to-be wife looks well enough here and she was the first of the crew to catch a Tuna, one of the largest; however, thereafter she was seasick the rest of the day.
And that's all, folks. Just those few photos, almost all before I turned 21, which I guess speaks much about my dad and my closeness.
On the right is my dad's pickup truck (and my teenage shadow taking the photo). My friend, Ron, was humiliated by having to ride in the back of his dad's pickup. I loved riding in the back of this one. That was where I wanted to ride, me and my friend Richard.
We thought it was cool.
There are some stories about that pickup, but for another time.