Remembering Dad

Dad and PattyFather’s Day ~ 2014

Before I was born my father had wanted to name me Patrick,  assuming I would be boy.  Since my brother and sister were already named for his father and closest sister, he wanted to give his next child a name he always liked.

After I was born there was a uproar about my name though. My father decided Patricia would be just as good a name as Patrick. Besides he had always liked the nick name Patsy. But my grandmother had wanted to name me Elizabeth Grace after her little girl who died in infancy.

We all know who won the argument and I was called Patricia. The story goes that my grandmother had come up to help my mother before and after I was born. After it was decided on what my name would be she got so mad at my mother and not only refusing to talk to her, she would not even hold me. Actually I have a picture somewhere of her holding me with a scowl on her face.

My mother told me that she was alright with the name Elizabeth, it was the middle name that had her in a tizzy. Grace…such a pretty name right?

My mother just in this country for a little over 1 year, was still learning the English language, thought my grandmother wanted to name me Elizabeth “Crazy”. She thought Grace was the word for crazy! Of coarse my father loved to tell the story and would add, “little did we know the name would have fit Patty perfectly”! Once my mother understood she told me she always regretted the misunderstanding of not realizing why the name meant so much to my grandmother.

My poor mother, although she was blamed for me not being Elizabeth Grace, it was in fact my dad who put his foot down and wanted his Patricia. I quickly became Patty, although I was never told why I was never called Patsy.  On occasion he would call me Patsy, and I might add he was the only one who was allowed to do so. He did not call me that often, but when he did it was always with a joke, a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

He died suddenly when I was 14, four days after his birthday. I never had the chance to speak with him adult to adult, or ask him about his life as a young boy leaving home to help support his mother and sisters. When I started to learn about World War II in school he would fill in the gaps from the history books, teaching me “what the history books would not”. Those were some of the best talks I had with him.

Dad saw things during his tour in Europe in 1944-1945 that we will never be able to comprehend. Those things had haunted him all of his life. He never again found the peace in his life that was lost on the battlefields of Belgium and the Rhineland.

Growing up we had good times and bad times. Through it all we knew we were loved. I had the privilege of having him for my father, although I only knew him for such a short time.

He was far from perfect; he was a man who lived through many difficulties, being a young boy during the Depression, he had left home to support his family. He also witnessed the horrors of the brutality of what one man was capable of doing. Some of the problems and trials were of his own choosing, yet he was a gentle man, a caring man, and a man of courage. Dad was just a troubled soul – trying to find his place in this world.

Dad held many jobs one of his first jobs as a young boy was with the CCC.  After that he also worked a short time with the Ringling Brothers and Bailey Circus, if memory serves me right he told me his job was to help set up the tents.  He was a diesel mechanic and a draftsman. But his most memorable career would be his service to his country for 25 years, with the United States Army.

And that is how I like to think of him. As a soldier and a father who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how.

Happy Father’s Day Dad ~ “Sarge”!

dad 1


Happy Fathers Day Daddy

One happy family 1962

June 17, 2012  Happy Fathers Day Dad

One of my many fondest memories of dad is Sunday mornings.  We would wake up to the aroma of Sunday dinner cooking.  He enjoyed cooking and always cooked on Sundays; when time allowed he would often cook during the week. On Sundays he would always be dressed in grey pants and a white shirt and while preparing our Sunday meal he would wear mom’s white apron. 

As I would come down the stairs he would be watching old movies, Abbot and Costello one of his favorites, the Three Stooges or a Andy Hardy movie.  That would start off the day, then it would change to war movies with John Wayne naturally and on occasion mom would win out and it would be a western movie with John Wayne naturally! Dinner would be around 2 pm and then he would play his music on his reel to reel player.  It would be everything from big bands to German Wehrmacht music. He loved and appreciated all music and would pass that appreciation down to the three of us and to his grandchildren.

Actually both my sister and I still get teary eyed when we hear “You Are My Sunshine”.  It was the song he sang to us all the time and both of us can agree that it is still one of our favorites. Although my sister fondly remembers how he could not carry a tune! But that did not stop him from singing joyfully.

Daddy had a difficult life growing up, made some bad choices and was a troubled soul, of what I can assume was from his experiences in WWII.   He was stern and very much a disciplinarian.  He also had that look that said we better settle down or else!  But he also had a heart of gold and would help anyone in need.  He taught us honesty when he found a wallet with money in it; he found the owners name and contacted him to give it back with no hesitation.  He taught us to respect hard work and in getting the job done, he also taught us responsibility through his example of being a responsible father and son.  He taught us love by how how he loved and respected mom – both Bonnie and I agree they were indeed soul mates destined to meet.

I will always remember when my mother had her first heart attack, and dad was in the dining room finishing his breakfast.  I had gone in to say good bye to him before I left for school and he was sitting there with his head in his hands crying and praying.  He was not a demonstrative person, but in that moment showed me how much he loved all of us without saying one word.

Happy Fathers Day Daddy!  You were only in our lives a short time, but you have left your mark in the adults we became. 

My sister and I with daddy and Tante Rosa and Onkle Gustav – Germany

Postscript~ the German Wehrmacht music was historical music to dad, and he liked the military themes to them.  He fought in WWII in Europe but had an appreciation of all German music, so please no rude comments it is not a political statement.  Thank you.

Happy Fathers Day Billy

Billy at age 12
Altar Boy at St Francis Church

Day 2 ~ Happy Father’s Day Billy

Remembering you and the father you would have been.

I often think of my brother; who he was and who he might have become. He was a young man who enjoyed life and who had an adventurous spirit.  36 yrs ago he was tragically killed in an accident at the age of 19.

My sister and I have happy memories of the boy he was; a boy with a curious mind, an altar boy, very loving and sensitive, and our protector. He had a mechanical mind, always taking things apart and putting them together, always building and working with his hands.  We remember him as happy and good nature.  Most importantly he was our big brother and friend. 

When my sister was born he would claim she was his baby and growing up he continued to take that responsibility seriously.  They were 13 months apart and resembled each so much and had a strong bond that everyone thought they were twins.  Even after 36 years their bond is still there – her son is named for the brother she loved and respected so much

I was born the day after his birthday-only a few minutes passed midnight.  No matter how hard mom would plead with the doctor to “fudge” the birth certificate to the day before he would not do it.  Billy and mom told me how much he wanted another baby sister for his birthday, so although we did not share a birthday I was still his birthday present.  And he now had two baby sisters to protect and take care of.

The one memory that stays with me and best explains how he took care of us was after dad died.  He was in the Army then and came home to help mom take care of things and to say good bye to dad.  At the funeral during the grave side service Billy stood between Bonnie and me with his arms around us.  Sheltering us and trying to protect us from the pain we were all feeling.

We often wonder what type of man he would have become and both of us agree that he would have been a compassionate and caring person, probably an architect or something more outdoors in the actual construction of buildings and homes.  We see him as a father of daughters and by now probably a grandfather.  We can see him as their protector, their shelter from the storms and pain of life and raising them to be strong women of honorable character. 

~ Happy Fathers Day Billy you will forever be 19

in our hearts and in our memories ~

Billy age 17

Happy Fathers Day Tom

Tom putting on the Infantry badge at Tommy’s Army basic training graduation
Tom and Michelle at Michelle’s high school graduation

This weekend is Father’s Day.  I have had the privilege to have had three men in my life who had shaped the person I am today.   So the next three days I would like to honor them.

There is my husband, Tom who found his calling in fatherhood.  If it was possible 30 years ago he would have been a stay at home dad while I brought home the bacon.

And my brother, Billy, who died over 36 years ago at the age of 19, although he was never a dad, my sister and I remember the boy he was and the young man he was turning into.

Of course last but not least is my dad.  My sister summed it up when she wrote me: ” dad was a troubled soul,  full of pain and heartache,  from a tough life.  He was a hard worker who loved his family and always provided for us.”

Day 1.            Happy Fathers Day – Tom

Like all newly married couples, we bought our home, made plans for our future children.  We were ready to start a life together.  Tom had always wanted one child – a boy, and I had wanted 4 children 2 of each, a nice round number.  So being young and in love we compromised on two, although I think Tom was set only one child.

Then after nearly 2 years the big day came, our son was born.  From the moment he held our son he was instantly transformed into daddy.  Tom’s purpose in life was summed up in that one moment – daddy.

He would wake up to either help me or to feed Tommy, himself, for those midnight, 2 am, 4 am and 6 am feedings.  To this day our son hates to sleep!  A diaper needed changed, he was there.  Whatever our son needed he was there to provide it.  A whimper, a cry and he would be there to soothe our precious son.  Tom had the magic touch to calm him; actually he was the only one who could get our little restless bundle of joy to sleep.

Tommy would eventually turn into the type of man Tom is.  He is responsible, dependable, and has a good strong Christian character.  He is a true man of God, seeking to do God’s will in everything he does.

Move up 5 years – our daughter, Michelle is born.  Now Tom comes from a family of 3 other brothers, plenty of boy cousins, nephews, with only one girl cousin and one niece.  So our little baby doll was quite a surprise to Tom and he was unsure on how to handle a little baby girl.  Once he realized she would not break, he helped raised a beautiful, self assured, strong young Christian woman.  Michelle played with dolls and climbed trees, exploring the world around her, with no one telling her she could not do it.

Tom always encouraged the children to be who they are, and through his own quiet way, he taught them to love God by living their life pleasing to Our Lord.

We had always planned on a third child leaving it up to God’s timing, but circumstances did not allow for any more children.  But God is good, His plan perfect; He had blessed us with two beautiful children and a strong marriage.  God knew the desires of our hearts even before we did and His plan for us was fulfilled in the life he gave us.   We thank You Lord, for the husband and father you provided for us.