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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Friday I shared a bit about my Dad and his regular family letters, so when I was looking through old albums for this Father's Day blog, I was pleased to find this picture of my Dad working at his typewriter. This picture was taken in 1956. He was 47 years old. He lived until he was 95. My Dad loved all things mechanical. We always thought he could make or fix anything. For years he did not have to pay his barber to cut his hair because Dad bartered hair cuts for hair clippers in good working order. Dad was pretty frugal, probably because his adult years had been shaped by the Depression. He started college the year before the Crash and got married and started a family before its end. Dad loved to do the family grocery shopping, and my Mother was always aggravated because he would buy the dented cans because they were usually cheaper. He also usually made the family breakfast. I especially fondly remember the delicious waffles he would often fix on Sunday mornings. We were one of the first families in our little town to have a television set because he built it from a Heath kit. He bought a color television shortly after they were available. In those days you had to adjust the color with a few knobs on the front of the set. My mother would set those knobs to her liking, but it was a rare evening when my Dad didn't come into the room briefly to readjust them to something else, another point of mild contention between them. Most evenings he had a regular routine of taking a short nap after dinner after which he was raring to go until bed time shortly after 11:00. He would spend most of the evening puttering in his "work room" but would usually come into the den about 10:00 in order to play a few hands of Hearts with my Mother and, by the time I got into high school, me. He could seldom sit still, though, and would leave the table several times to refill his glass or his pipe. He said he did that to "change his luck," though he did win as often as he lost. He was seldom the family disciplinarian, and he knew better than to give us permission to do something. Hoping he would be a "soft touch" we would often go to him first. But he would usually respond, "Go ask your Mother." He loved people and made friends wherever he went. He was, however, probably a bit too trusting in the goodness of others, which a few times did not work out well. Today I am sure he would be a perfect target for scammers. He loved my Mother completely and was a patient care giver for her in her final years, which I am sure had to have been very difficult at times. But caring was a big part of who he was. So it was not surprising that he remarried just a couple of years after Mother's death. That was another good marriage that lasted about twenty years. But what makes me think about my Dad most often is how much he would have loved all the tech devices we now have. We bought him a computer when he was in his 90's thinking that it would help him writing the weekly family letters. He finally admitted sadly that he was born too soon to be able to understand and use it properly and went back to using his trusty Remington typewriter. I am sure that he would be happy and proud of his grand and great grandchildren who now make their livings in tech fields no doubt because they inherited his love of things mechanical. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

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