Up until now, I’ve been talking a lot about my mom and how she inspired me to write and ultimately start this blog. I wanted to talk a little about my dad. My dad is a wonderful man and he has been such a great father to my sister and me. He is truly one of a kind as I have never met too many men like my dad.
When we were younger, he was a little rough around the edges. Although he was strict with us, he always had a gentle hand. When we tell people this now, they can’t believe what my dad was like. He has softened up over the years, but I can tell you that he would scare the crap out of us when we were younger.
When I was about 6 years old, my dad announced he would be doing “Closet inspections.” My sister and I shared a room, and each had our own closet. He was a neat freak, and everything had to be in its place. So, when he announced, “Closet inspection, 5 minutes,” we had to run upstairs to our room, make sure everything was in order, and stand at attention outside the closet. It’s funny now to think about it but believe me it wasn’t fun then. He would go through the closet and we would be praying to God that he wouldn’t find anything out of place, because it could mean anything. Yes, he ran a tight ship, but we learned to live with it.
When my mom was working at night, it was my dad who sat down to do homework with us. I would be shaking in my pants because I knew he had high expectations of how we should behave, and homework was no joke. When I started learning how to write, I could never hold the pencil correctly. It irritated him and if he noticed that I was holding the pencil incorrectly while doing my homework, you can be sure he would snatch the paper up from the table and rip it up. I would be in tears as he was yelling at me to hold the pencil the correct way. I can tell you to this day I still don’t hold the pencil the right way.
My dad was very creative. He was into woodworking, carpentry, painting, electrical work and all things that required a great deal of work. So, when it came to my science projects, you can be sure they would be the best in the class. Sometimes, a little too good. I remember in 5th grade, my dad decided to help me making a sun dial. Whereas most kids in my class were bringing in poster boards cut down to size with a fastener in the middle, my project was a little more advanced. My dad made a sun dial out of wood, engraved the numbers in the wood, stained it, added shellac and called it a day. I won the school science fair that year. Correction, my dad did.
When I was in 7th grade, I managed to get the science teacher everyone warns you about it. Her idea for that year’s science project, was a “working airplane.” I kid you not, I nearly fainted as she announced it because I knew it would be the death of me for nights on end working with my dad. He was so excited when I told him. He was giddy, smiling ear to ear and never once questioned how we would manage this. I was in serious trouble. The very first night we started to work on it, I was a nervous wreck. I had to remind him that I’m twelve years old, there is no way I could possibly make a working plane. He ignored me. As he started to sketch it out, designing it as though he was working for Boeing creating the next luxury aircraft, I was sinking into my seat. After a night of yelling and him losing his patience with me, we called it a night. That evening, my mom was strangely woken up out of her sleep to find me in her room, throwing all the shoes out of my dad’s closet. She said to me, “Joann, what are you doing?” I said to her, “I’m looking for the wings for the plane.” At first, she didn’t know what the heck I was talking about but realized I was sleep walking. Yep, I had so much stress and anxiety about this project, I started sleep walking. Ever since that moment, during my younger years if anything was bothering me, you can be sure to catch me roaming the house at night.
Although my science teacher loved the airplane (and yes, it did work), I didn’t get an A for the project because she flat out told me, “You didn’t make this, your Dad did…. again.” I remember thinking whatever lady, I’m just glad it’s over with, now maybe I can sleep peacefully.
My dad is the last of his kind. He is a gentleman, always well dressed, and very funny. He was always there for all of us especially my mom when she was going through cancer and he never left her side. My sister and I love him very much and he has been the best dad. I would stand at attention for him, hold the pencil correctly and contemplate doing another science project with him all over again. He’s the best.
What are your memories of your dad? Did he scare you? Was he funny? I’d love to hear your stories as well.