Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad

My favorite photo of Dad
My Dad would have been 79 today.

When he was six years old, on Monday, December 8, 1941, Dad sold newspapers on the street corner where he lived, in North Canton, OH, telling of the infamy of the Japanese and our entry into WWII.

When he was a teenager, living in Detroit, he joined the Sea Scouts. He always smiled when he mentioned that.

During that same time, Dad was on a little league team. He loved baseball until the day he died. He played softball on a lot of leagues while he served in the Navy for twenty years.

When he graduated from St. Joseph High School he was voted "Most Likely to Become a Coach." He did coach my little league baseball team when we lived in Washington State. We were the Mud Daubers. I was a horrible player, but it was the best time of my life. Even getting hit by a fast ball is a good memory for me - now.

Dad joined the Navy in 1954 and became a Medical Corpsman. He loved the sea.

Dad met Mom in 1956 in Virginia. Mom was in the Navy, too. They married in 1957.

I was born in 1957. I'm still surprised at how young Mom and Dad look in the photos where I am a baby.

My brother Barry came along in 1962 while we lived in Florida. I actually remember that. Dad was all smiles and I fell asleep in front of the snowy test pattern of the black and white television.

In 1964 my brother David was born. We were in Saginaw, Michigan at the time, staying with Grandma Jen and Grandpa Mac. Dad was reassigned to Rhode Island and was getting everything ready for us to arrive. Grandma and Grandpa Comfort and our Aunt Candy (only seven years older than I) drove us to Rhode Island in a station wagon with those odd wooden panels on the sides. I don't remember much of the trip, but I do remember finally arriving. I probably slept most of the way; I'm sure nobody else did.

In 1965 my youngest brother Tim was born. Dad was supposed to go to the Antarctic on the USS Essex with his shipmates, but was assigned to shore duty until his youngest son was born. I always felt a little cheated by that, since Dad promised to bring me a penguin from Antarctica. A little brother just wasn't as cool as a penguin.

Dad went to Vietnam in 1968-1969, embedded as a Navy Corpsman with the First Medical Battalion, First Marine Division, Danang. There was actually a tiny picture on the VetFriends site. I have no idea which person is Dad.

He retired in 1972 as a Chief Petty Officer. He was very happy and proud to become a Chief. The family moved to Rockford, Michigan, a place I still consider home, even after being away from it for thirty-four years, more than half my life.

Dad had other adventures.

Dad died on February 8, 2013. He's still missed. 

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for your loss. This is a very nice tribute.