There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pops

This was originally posted in January of 2007. I love and miss my daddy every day.


Last month my blogger best friend Gina of eclectic-defined (see my favorites) wrote the most beautiful blog in memory of her mother who had passed away.

I was cleaning today and playing as loudly as I could Hungarian Rhapsody #2. One of my most vivid childhood memories is when I was 5......I was in my bedroom with the door closed but not shut. I had a record player, the box type that looked like a tiny suitcase and it played 78's. I was playing the #2 Rhapsody. I had several scarves; one was tied around my head and I was pretending I had long hair and there was a scarf in each hand. I was dancing round and round, stomping my feet and singing la la la-a-a, la la la-a-a. I saw my dad peeking at me through the cracked door and stopped dead on the spot because I was so embarrassed and I started to cry.

My dad was not a tender man in gesture but what he said to me that day has never left me...."Dance Rosebud, dance.".....and he closed the door. He was the one that gave me that name and when I was old enough to never want to be called that by anyone he still did but with love.

My dad will have been gone 20 years tomorrow. He would have been 103 last year. I am an older woman, I think 103 is ancient but when my dad died at 83, I didn't think of him as old.

I usually called him Daddy unless I had called him on the phone, then it was "Hi Pops." My mom called him dad as did my brother. My kids called him Papa, to casual friends he was Bob and to his old cronies he was Baldy. His given name was Robert Marion.

It is hard to imagine one's parents as children. After all, they have always been adults to their children. I have pictures of my dad when he was a kid.....in a dark colored, coarse appearing jacket and knicker pants. The shirt he is wearing has a collar that looks tight and he once said he felt like a pencil neck kid in that shirt. Another picture of him as a young adult shows him trim and fit in a plaid jacket and wearing an English driving cap. He is standing next to an old Ford.....his stance is proud, his foot rests on the running board and he looks carefree and happy.

My mind's picture of my dad is of him in his size 52 Levis faded at the knees. He cuffed them at the bottom and would drop his cigar ashes in this hidden spot. The rest of his daily wardrobe consisted of J.C. Penny chambray shirts and Romeo "slippers" that were his shoes...work and dress up.

My dad's face over the years changed little...his eyes remained a crisp blue with a few laugh lines at the corners. Internally Glaucoma, Diabetes and Hypertension were taking their toll. As I sit here typing this blog I can smell him....the faint odor of fresh cut wood, sweet and comforting. His Friar Tuck head always had a baseball cap on it with a trucking logo on the front...this was his life's work, trucking.

By the time I was born my dad was a hard living, hard drinking man ....he had grown up poor in the back woods of Ohio and had run away to California hoping for a better life. He worked in a bakery for a while, married and had a daughter Barbara Jean who was born deaf. He lost everything in the 20's including his family. Eventually he went to work for Crow Trucking and began his career.

He met my mom in the early 40's and I came along in 1944...his Rosebud. By the time I was born he was working for Roscoe Moss Water Wells as a senior driver. He was the leader of a bunch of rowdies that partied by having BBQ's and beer busts. I was scared sometimes of my dad as a kid but I think that came more from my mother's reaction to his drinking and her personal miseries......and his absences from home on long haul trips did little to foster a father/daughter relationship.

As a grown woman and mother my relationship with my dad changed; he changed.....his driving was replaced with the title of Yard Foreman. He drank a beer occasionally but the cigars were replaced with toothpicks. Only the Levi's, blue shirts and slippers remained the same.....suddenly he was a grandfather; a gentle loving man with a soft voice and a tenderness with my children I thought I had never known. But then I would remember a daddy that called me "pumpkin" and Rosebud, watched Hopalong Cassidy with me on TV and showed me off to the boys at the truck yard. I remembered going on runs with him to Barstow in his truck and holding my hand at my First Communion, standing with him next to his '55 Chevy and in front of his prized brick BBQ.

My dad's retirement years were my closest with him mainly because my mother loosened her need to be involved in every interaction I had with him. We spent hours talking about his childhood and mine too. He grew beef stake tomatoes and 5 foot long beans. He loved the earth and plants, wood working and making gifts for my children with his special saws and tools. He was a wild coupon collector, did all of the grocery shopping and most of the cooking. He never had a charge card and bought their home, cars and everything else with cash.

In his last year, every morning, rain or shine, he would walk the block around his home and talk to the neighbors, look at plants and pets and then share the gossip with my mother when he got home. He loved the Dodgers and if he was unable to attend the games, he would sit in his lounge chair and fall asleep listening to them on the radio.

He was loving, tender, distant at times, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, honorable, dependable and my friend. He was all things that a daddy should be.

He showed me how to have the strength of character to weather hard times and grow and learn from them. He loved unconditionally....a rarity....and something I have yet to master. I know I learned from his thriftiness and am today trying to appreciate the woods and plants around me because of my dad. He lived what a parent should be to an adult child.....something just as challenging as the raising process.

I wish my dad could see all that I have accomplished, how I have changed, how I appreciate him. No matter my age or the years since he has been gone, I love my dad more than any of these words can express.

19 comments:

kenju said...

You succeeded in making me cry with this one, Rosemary. I have written about my dad too, but not so eloquently, I'm afraid. I hope he knows about this post, wherever he is now.

JessnBekahsmom said...

That was such a nice read! You seem to have a way with words. What nice things you said about your father. I wish I had known him. My dad has mellowed out over the years, too. Now I am worried about him. My mom passed away 1 1/2 years ago (she was born in 1944, too). She has Multiple Sclerosis and finally succumbed to a horrible wasting disease. Her body finally gave out. Dad admitted on Friday that he is lonely and might be interested in meeting someone. I had to pry it out of him, though. I wish I knew a nice woman for him! It would have to be someone really special. I love him very much and I don't want him to be lonely!

gina said...

Rosemary, that was a really, really wonderful post! He sounds so much like my grandfather, except Grandpa has a thick Italian accent, and ran liquor stores instead of drove truck, and made shoes for us when he wasn't out tending his Garden of Eden in the middle of Sherman Oaks, CA. So much the same... what a really wonderful tribute to him. We'll have to talk about him when you come in next.

gina said...

And thanks for calling me your blogger best friend. :) I love you to pieces! Come into the library sometime when you aren't rushing to a board meeting, okay? I haven't SEEN you in ages! Miss you!

Sling said...

That was nothing less than poetry Rosemary.
No doubt,Pops is loking on with pride.
Thanks for sharing that. :)

mart said...

Lovely post Rosemary.

Did you find any of my music.. lots of it is pretty noisy, but there's alot you'd like too. I'm amazed at how much you are into digital tech... cameras, ipods etc.. more savy than many of my 18 year old students!! Really!

Martyn

JessnBekahsmom said...

I like the new look, Rosemary! Have a great day! :-)

Mom said...

Beautiful memories, eloquently written. Made me cry.

jan said...

Beautiful. You made him sound like someone we would all want to know.

It's going to be hard not to call you Rosebud now.

kenju said...

I will repeat what I said above, Rosemary. This is probably the best post you've written (that I've read).

Evil Twin's Wife said...

What a beautifully written tribute to your dad. Lovely!

Barb said...

I have to agree with JessnBekahsmom's comment: "You seem to have a way with words." What a beautiful tribute to your father. He is probably looking down upon you at this moment and smiling.

cs said...

I too have many wonderful and poignant memories of my youth and my Pops. I miss him and mom terribly--still after these years. At church today, the very 1st song we sang at worship was "How Great Thou Art". it was his favorite hymn, most appropriate for his era, since it was written in 1941 when WWII started. He was a young GI and it brought him comfort.
ahhh...memories...
Aren't we lucky ducks!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

wasn't it just the most wonderful thing in the world to be 'daddy's little girl?'
to rosebud..from jackson

Cazzie!!! said...

Ditto to kenju's exact first sentence. Dance Rosebud dance, I just love it.
MY dad remarried and with that left my life to lead a new one when my son Tomas was just 7mths old. I have no idea where he went with his new wife as they were going to live in their relocatable home.
It tears me apart to think we were so close and yet he chose to just up and leave. He has no idea I now have four children, 4 grand children who know what a great dad he was to me.
Anyway, your sentiment is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

Jennie said...

I love that he told you to dance. That's the best memory ever.

madretz said...

i have tears welling up in my eyes. what wonderful memories you have of your dad and he would be proud to hear all the love you have for him. I miss my dad so very much also. He's been gone 17 years, so hard to believe it's been that long already when the ache is still so strong.

Coincidentally, I was watching a PBS special last night, and Victor Borge was playing Hungarian Rhapsody #2.

Miss Healthypants said...

I loved this, Rosemary! So tender and sweet--and honest. Overall, he sounds like he was a good Dad. :)

Middle Child said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your dad...the older I get the more I understand...nothing good, like the love of mum and dad, husband, children sisters brothers, friends...is ever evr lost...its goodness circles old earth and is there for us to dip into as we need as long as we remember...and remembrance is your namesake rosemary...a tear in my eye...and warmth in my heart to read about your dad.