Thirty-two years ago, my father passed away on a cold day in March, and I still miss him. On this Father’s Day, I’d like to share some memories of him.
|With my Dad when I was just a wee one! In New Brunswick, New Jersey.|
My father, George, was thirteen years older than my mother and so came from a different generation. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, back when Model-T’s shared the streets with horses and everybody knew their neighbor. His father (James) owned a butcher shop and had English roots in New England dating back to Colonial times. His mother (Madeline) was the daughter of Irish and Portuguese immigrants. (Sadly, my siblings and I never met our paternal grandparents, Madeline and James. Both died within three month of each other, long before we were born). Aunt Agnes (my father’s younger sister) would tell us that their mother called George “the salt of the earth.” I like that! And as far as I’m concerned, my Dad was “the salt of the earth.”
The middle one of three children, Dad had wonderful memories of his childhood. He enjoyed playing baseball, had a paper route, and relished the times he would go down to the Providence River, clam-digging with his older brother, Bill (Dad made a mean clam chowder!). He loved movies and would save the money he made from his paper route to go to Saturday afternoon picture shows. He remembered when silent films became talkies, and was a fan of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Because he was older than our playmates’ fathers, he had stories from a different era and his stories were captivating. His family home in Providence was across the street from where the acclaimed songwriter and entertainer, George M. Cohan, once lived. (George M. Cohan was famous for such early 20th-century songs as “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Over There,” “I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.”) Now you get the picture of my father’s childhood.
Dad when he was young (by car, hat in hand) with his parents and sister.
Providence, Rhode Island.
|Mom and Dad (before I was a twinkle in their eyes).|
Five years after they were married, my parents had me, then my three sisters and two younger brothers. Dad loved having a family. I learned to read at an early age because he read picture books to us every night. By the time I got to first grade, because of all that reading, I was already at third grade reading level. Story time at night was one of my best memories! That along with all the Irish lullabies he would sing to us in his baritone voice, the same tunes his mother sang to him when he was a child. If I close my eyes, I can still hear him sing, “Tura-Lura-Lura.”
And so I’ll close this post with “That’s an Irish Lullaby” for my Dad. Hope you’ll listen, it’s a lovely song. Happy Father’s Day!
All text and photos ©2012 JerseyLil’s 2 Cents.