Lately I have been trying to draw dad out into more discussions as he usually sits so quietly in his chair. I asked him about his mother and grandmother on Mother’s Day. He said he didn’t remember doing special activities on Mother’s Day with his mother or grandmother. But he did remember his mother used to make white hats with wool – either knitting or crocheting. He also said his mother had a sewing machine (which I didn’t know) and she used to sew with that.
My grandmother had a large family and passed away when some of the children, including dad, were fairly young. I have tried to recreate a picture of her in my mind to fill in what I don’t know from personal experience.
At the same time, I want to record my own memories of my parents. I have made some memory books of photos that mostly told about family activities with mom and dad. Now I want to add more personal experiences of just me and my father.
Now I have more one on one time with dad than I ever had while growing up. I enjoy our time together and reminisce about the rare times we spent together in the past. As time goes by I think of more and more special times we had together.
Dad was an old-fashioned father. He didn’t play games with us or anything like that. We took very few family vacations, and those we did take fill a large place in my memories. As a teenager, I missed having dad around a lot as he worked odd hours in a swing shift that varied by month so often he didn’t have meals with us, etc.
I do have some special memories though of times alone with dad. When I was in my late teens, I was a counselor in a girls’ camp over a hundred miles from my home. Mom didn’t drive, so dad was the one who had to drive me to camp with my trunk full of clothing and accessories to carry me through the summer. Halfway through the summer I had a rare full weekend off and I took a train home to visit my family. Dad drove me back on Sunday afternoon. I took him on a tour of the camp, showing him around the large pond (or very small lake!) where the girls swam. As we walked around, I didn’t realize that all my friends (fellow-counselors) were watching us out the window. Dad was fairly good-looking and young enough that they thought he was my boyfriend! Boy — was he proud when he heard about that!
Another time dad had to drive me a long distance was when I went away to college. Again I went over a hundred miles from home and dad had to drive me and my belongings to my dorm. At the start of my sophomore year, dad picked up my boyfriend along the way and drove us both to college. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant and I sat in the booth. Dad was about to sit next to me when he stopped, looked at my boyfriend, and sat across from me so my boyfriend could sit by my side. I had to chuckle inside as dad was coming to realize that I was growing up!