The day before my birthday. He was burried on October 29. He was 74 years old. He was suffering from multiple conditions such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, and heart desease. He was burried alongside my mother who had died suddenly several months prior. During his last months, he suffered bouts of memory loss but he had his more lucid moments. Because of a riff with my mother, I had not seen and seldom spoke with my Dad for more then 2 years until after her passing. I felt guilty that I was weak and had a hard time forcing myself to come visit. It was really hard to see someone in a feeble state that you have always seen up to then as vital and strong. I know I cant change the past and I’m glad I was able to bring myself to visit my Dad the last few months of his life even though I prefer to remember him as he was before his ailments took their toll.
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on our television when we lived in the country and more often then not that meant only 2-3 channels came in no matter what direction we turned the antenna.
One year for Christmas my parents got us a VCR. I think it was primarilly for the grandkids. Back then tapes were expensive and renting tapes wasn’t cheap because it was a new medium and very little competition. My Dad started recording movies off HBO and Cinemax for us to watch. Sometimes he would record as many as 3 or 4 tapes a week on average. He would use the EP setting so there would end be as many as 3 movies on the tape. Sometimes he set it up for the first movie which would generally be kid friendly or even an animated feature specifically for the preteen group. The second movie might have more adult content but that third movie was the one to watch out for. Cinemax wasn’t known for waiting after hours before viewing flicks with full frontal nudity or hardcore language. We also got a lot of repeats. When I mentioned the adult content on to my Dad, his responce was classic “You don’t have to watch them and I don’t have to record them for you. You are the parent. It is your job to decide what your children watch.”
Nothing else was said. But surprisingly, my Dad actually stopped blindly recording 6 hours straight off the television and began recording stuff according to our likes and dislikes. He once brought over several tapes marked for each of the grandkids and for the adults.
I remember my stepdaughter was so happy when he recorded Ghost with Patrick Swayze just for her.
He started to exhibit hearing loss. For instance, the TV was on a little louder and he often accused everyone of mumbling. However, there were times I expect he just used it as an excuse to ignore people.
It was the late 1970s and many of my parenet’s generation including my Mom were not very receptive. I didn’t actually come out and broadcast the news, I simply moved out of the college dorm where I was living and moved in with my boyfriend. For appearance sake (and because it was already paid for) I kept my dorm room the rest of the semester. When it finally came to light, my poor Dad was sent to confront me and my boyfriend who later became my husband.
Dad came knocking at my door and when I opened it, there wasn’t a whole lot I could say. I just invited him in since I didn’t have a class that morning and we had coffee and talked about anything else but…..
Awhile later, he got up and decided it was time to go and his last words to me that day were “I want you to call your mother. You have to explain yourself to her. If you think calling her is tough, think about what it is like living with her right now.”
I always felt bad about putting my dad into that spot. It took another couple days before I actually called her. It didn’t matter that we had already been living together for nearly a year.
It was decided that my Uncle Charles should handle her estate. He was an accountant and the only one of her children who was not married or had children so it was a logical choice. He decided that most of my grandparents’ personal property didn’t need to go into probate and all of my granmother’s children got together to pick out what each wanted out of her persoanl effects. They drew straws just so it would be a bit more fair. I remember my mom telling me Dad’s first choice was a opague pink glass oil lamp minus a chimney and globe. She also told me my Uncle Don threw a fit about it although he had gotten to choose something before my Dad had. I alway liked the lamp so I decided to buy it at my parents’ estate auction years later. I remember my Uncle bidded against me for it and I’m sure I paid far more for it then it was worth. I think my Dad would have been pleased even so.
He moved to Dade County to be closer to his roots. My Dad started making semi-monthly trips to visit him especially when he begin to have kidney dialysis every week. Eventually, my uncle had to be hospitalized once it was decided he was going into acute kidney failure.
I went down with my Dad the last 2 visits so he wouldn’t be by himself on the long 5 hour long trip. I never realised until then how close my dad was to his siblings and how important it was for him to be with his brother to the end. My uncle had never been married and had no children. Although he was an admitted homosexual, my Dad never commented on it or held my uncle in any sort of contemp over the knowledge. My uncle also had a longtime female friend whom came to visit him as well. She and him had been romantically linked several years before until it was decided they couldn’t make it because of his sexual preference. Even so, they always remained friends.
My parents house needed painting badly. My dad found excuses for not painting it himself or hiring someone to do it until their insurance agent commented about keeping the house in good repair to keep coverage on it.
My Dad wasn’t going to pay good money to have someone else paint his house and bought all the paint to do it which was quite a bit of money as it was a large 3 story house (including walk up attic). He kept putting it off until finally my brother Pat hired some individuals he knew get it done. It seem to take them all Summer and it was a little scary seeing some of these people hanging out the windows of the attic painting or standing on the highest rung of the extension ladder. When I asked my brother if he was aware of all the safety violations being committed. He announced that these people were part of that group of Russian trapeze artists who had been written about in the local paper who were abandoned by their manager who ran off with all their money and passports and they needed the work and this was nothing compared to what they did for a living in their real profession. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs and the money they could make doing odd jobs and the generosity of the local population to provide them with a place to stay each night and food for their bellies. It turned out my brother was letting some stay at his house several nights a week and they spent most of their money buying cigarrettes and vodka.
I still cant believe it to this day that my dad let him hire them.
My Dad would call me to ask if I could wrap presents for him. He would make a mad dash to shop for my mom at the last moment. Some years, he would simply purchase a lot of modge podge like a pair of slippers, a new can opener, a salad shooter, a hand vac for her car. I remember he bought her a new Hoover vacuum one year. (She already had 2 Kirbys so that went over well.) I remember her suggesting a TV for the bedroom one year and he got kudos for that one. Another year he bought her a fullsize electronic piano keyboard. She had been wanting a piano for a long while. My Mom was not too impressed although the grandkids had a blast with it.
Grandpa always made breakfast for her whenever she stayed overnight at my parents’ house. I told her that was because my Dad (her grandpa) was the better cook. There were a lot of mornings we would drop by and my Dad would offer to cook breakfast even though it was apparent that everyone had already eaten.
Years ago, my uncle Charles (or Chuck as we often called him) was moving from his apt in N. Kansas City to another apt and called my Dad. He was told by his landlord that he could take an old upright piano that was already there in his apt when he moved in but had to take it that day. He asked my Dad if my Mom might like it and my Dad and one of my brother Bob drove up in my Dad’s pick up to get it. It was suppose to be a surprise for my Mom who knew nothing of why my Dad and brother went up there.
That evening they came home empty-handed. Nothing was said about this for weeks or months until around Christmastime and Uncle Chuck asked how my Mom like her piano. This was the first any of us heard what happened. Aparently, the piano wasn’t tied down very well and fell out of the back of the pick up while in transit.
I can still imagine it smashed to smitherings somewhere on I-70.
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