Dad has a brother who is 17 years younger. My uncle frequently gets mistaken for my dad-and has for years. The uncle isn't too crazy about it. (Gee, I wonder why!) Actually, it's a compliment to both of them: Dad because he looks so young, and my uncle because Dad's a pretty handsome guy! Actually, if twins could be born 17 years apart--these two could be twins. They look and sound alike. The uncle faked being my dad for years when the girls were little. They'd go to him when they were afraid of most people. They thought they were sitting on Grandpa's lap, so no tears!
Dad was actually the oldest of nine. Five (!) sisters came next. The three younger brothers didn't arrive until Dad was almost out of the house. (My two brothers are the same age or close in age to his two youngest brothers.) I have a theory that Dad was the idolized only son for quite awhile. (And maybe a bit spoiled.) Of course, the aunts and my dad remember it quite differently. He remembers his sisters getting into his things and bothering him all the time. The aunts remember Grandma always taking his side. My guess is that somewhere in between lies the truth.
Dad went on to have four kids of his own. (Two older brothers and a younger sister) I'm his favorite. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Actually, I was usually the one sent to negotiate with him when we were in trouble. I also was the one elected to get him in a better mood when he was a bit irate. (I was actually pretty good at my job most of the time.) The brothers said I was spoiled. I like to think I was his easiest child to raise. (That might be stretching it a bit.)
Dad and I are alike in some ways: huge heads (literally!), rapid speech, and high foreheads. Dad was an English teacher at one time. He did a lot of "crunch time" grading. So do I. We both like to read.
I sometimes think that Dad is healthier than I am. He only needs glasses for reading. I need them for distance and reading. His hearing is better than mine; however, his might be a bit more selective! Of course, I had the stroke. About the only health problems I remember him having is stepping on a rusty nail (that one caused some problems!) and his having the hiccups for about 3 days one time. That's it. He's always been incredibly healthy. It's a good thing because he hates to go to the doctor. (I'm not fond of it myself.)
These are some things Dad encouraged:
*Getting involved in debate classes
*Playing the piano and a band instrument
*Writing thank you notes
*Not watching TV (He hated it!)
*Sewing (He would let us buy all the fabric and patterns we wanted, but there was a definite budget for pre-made clothes.)
*Going to college
As parents go, I have always felt fortunate. They sacrificed a lot for us. They loved us enought to be strict. They didn't tolerate rude, selfish, lazy, dishonest, or unkind behavior. I've always known the manners I learned as a kid would see me through, and that I know how to conduct myself in any situation. That's about the best gift that you can give a child.
Happy Birthday, Dad! (And it's OK to admit that I'm your favorite child!!! Those other 3 will never know! It can be our little secret!)
Top Photo- Me with Dad 3 years ago
Middle Photo- Two years ago
Bottom Photo- With K and L a year ago