Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 25 of 2012 - Spending time with Dad....

With this week's topic so close to Father's Day, I thought this a very appropriate assignment and a very satisfying one for me.  Where do I start?  One of my youngest memories is of learning to roller skate at a skating rink with dad as my partner.  We would go with the Methodist Youth Fellowship group of which Dad was a leader/sponsor/chaperone.  Most of the skate dates and my very first experience was in the roller rink in Mount Clemens, Michigan on a hardwood floor.  For some reason, Mom dressed me in this cute little red and white cotton dress that would blow in the breeze and get stuck between my legs as we skated around and around and around to the music.  Dad put his right arm around by back and held my right hand.  My left hand was in his left hand.  He taught me how to cross my right skate over the left to turn corners...three times for each corner.  I was a quick study and a young one...maybe 5 years old.  It wasn't long, and that same evening I would cautiously make my way around the outer edge.  Then Dad would come back and we would whirl around to the amazement of the spectators.  I remember other skaters asking, "how old are you?"  We also went to the rink at Metropolitan Beach which had an outdoor marble rink under the stars.  There you went FAST...much like the fast feel that today's online skating gives you.  To this day, I still enjoy roller street skating is now the current rage.  While I don't go out every day, I still enjoy a few miles on a nice summer day in downtown Harbor Beach or the boardwalk in Port Huron under the two Blue Water Bridges...and I always think of Dad.

I remember LOVING Tuesdays.  For as far back as I can remember, Dad had a half day off of work each week, always working on Friday nights and Saturdays.  On Tuesday afternoon when I got off the bus, Dad would be working on some kind of project.  I couldn't get from the bus stop to home fast enough to see what he was doing....spreading manure from the wheelbarrow, planting trees, mowing the lawn or working on something inside the house.  I had art class on Tuesday and he was always interested in whatever I had created.  Sometimes he would be making "signs" for Mitzelfeld's Department Store or Eggleston's Department Store before that.  Poster board, a paint kit and the list to work from....I would read them to him and in later years even got to make them myself!  As a teenager, I was employed by Mitzelfeld's to produce signs...this time with type set and ink rollers.  I thought it was a pretty cool job and I got paid for it!

As life would have it, Dad would open his first retail store the week that I got married...April 12, 1971.  I told him that I couldn't believe he would do that when he knew I'd be married and moved the following week.  Whenever we visited, we'd take a trip to the store to see what was new, taste a few freshly roasted cashews and hear all the latest tales.  I was astonished to hear in November of 1974 that we would be able to move to Harbor Beach and help Dad with the Ben Franklin Store at 114 South Huron Avenue.  My employment lasted for the rest of Dad's life....and from March 1, 1975 to August 30, 1996, it was filled with enough stories to write a book, which will come in other postings, I'm sure.  Stay tuned...there's plenty more of my time with Dad.  There was a ton of fun, some tears, silliness that I cherish today, daily lessons on people skills and the kind of mentoring that really made a difference in how I raised my family, how I gained my self esteem and how I am grounded in my faith.  Perfect?  No.  A great man and a fabulous father?  Absolutely.  While it was a life cut short by my measurements, I was blessed with 45 years....plenty enough to write a book!  Thanks, you!

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