My youngest sister as a tot, like most toddlers, had difficulty pronouncing R's. She heard Mom refer to Dad as Dear, and called him "Deah." It caught on - he'd call each of us "Deah" as well, but he was THE original.
He would've been 83 today, had he not suffered a tragic end in 1999, the day before Easter Sunday. I won't go into that here - rather, I'll focus on some fond memories.
He wasn't the best father, but I know he loved us. And compared to what I see these days, he was a gem. While he may not have thought of it himself, at least he was compliant to Mom's suggestion to spend time with his kids, taking them to places like the zoo, museum, or art gallery on weekends. Really, I know a lot of kids who haven't been to any of those places even ONCE.
We were exposed to culture. Dad wasn't a sports fan, but he did love classical music. And I didn't mind too much being roused out of bed when his clock radio played Handel's Water Music at full blast. www.youtube.com/watch?v=
He was a bit of a genius. He invented something that saved Kodak oodles of money in the emulsifying thing - so he had some good job security. He made wine as a hobby, and invented a kit one could attach to the bottle to carbonate it right there ("Retro-Fizz" he called it.) I recall mopping mulberry wine off the ceiling from the early prototypes, where too much pressure built up...
Another hobby was astronomy. He made his own telescopes. I remember him showing me Saturn, and a nebulae or two from the back yard.
And on our long car trips to family reunions in the Midwest, he showed by example the importance of enjoying the journey. He'd speed like crazy on the straightways, but when there was a scenic view, he'd stop and take pictures. Sunsets, rolling farmland...
I wasn't a straight A student - I struggled with history (C's) and got B's in English and Science. (I got A's in Math, Art, and French). But he seemed convinced that I did my best -
in fact, I never felt I COULDN'T do anything if I really set my mind to it.
My girlfriends liked him because he didn't talk down to them. They may not have understood him - but he didn't condescend.
So...Thanks, Lord, for some good memories of the Dad you gave me.
In the Army reserves...He was stationed in Fort Worth, which is how this New Yorker came to be born in Texas!
A jokester, Dad illustrates how to make your engine "purr."
At Inspiration Point in Letchworth Park, where we'd go at least once in the summer for a picnic and to enjoy the sites.
Christmas 1977 with my baby Abi (AKA Glitterfairy77) - older sister Pam and her hubby on left; my DH Ansel in the plaid shirt; "baby" sister Gwyn (the one who coined the name "Deah") behind me; my step-mother Aura behind Ansel; Dad holding my half-brother Brandon; and my step-brother Victor
I'm the one holding my toddler son Ben - Me with my 3 sisters and Dad, circa 1985
Two Ben's - Dad and my son.
At his retirement home in Puerto Rico with a telescope he built