January 16, 2011

Something Wonderful: Picture of the Winter


"Still here, dammit."

[Aside: Sippican was telling me a story like this just this morning. Ask him and maybe he'll tell everyone.]

HT:Rob in email

Posted by Vanderleun at January 16, 2011 4:04 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

This would have been my Dad, if he were still around and it reminded me immediately of him and the story my Mother recounted in her Journal.

Back in late 1945, when I was just a few months old, two things happened in one day that gave my Dad an idea. First, it was a Friday and my parents were on the verge of being invaded by the in-laws for a big family dinner that night. While my Mother was busy in the kitchen, my Dad volunteered to vacuum the living room. According to the Journal, my Mother reminded him to raise or lower the brushes when he moved from carpet to hardwood and back again. No light bulbs yet.

Later, at the dinner table, my Mother mentioned she was beginning to get cabin fever because the snow-covered side walks were keeping her a prisoner in the house. Apparently, this upset my Dad and he asked her later if she was as unhappy as she sounded. She explained she had been half-joking because she didn't have the freedom to get out and walk and enjoy the scenery. (My Mother was raised in Berkeley, CA and snow to her was still a rather new thing to behold.) My Dad was still befuddled until she explained that it was impossible to push my stroller on the snow-covered sidewalks and she couldn't leave me home alone. (I think she was hinting around that a Nanny would be nice.) My Dad had another idea.

The next morning my Mother heard my Dad busy working away in his basement workshop and a few hours later, he produced his "new invention."

He had taken the runners off his old sled and mounted them on the side of my stroller with a lever action that would raise or lower the runners as needed. If the sidewalks were clear, the runners could be lifted with a simple pull of a handle mounted on the side of the stroller handle. Snowy sidewalks and a push on the lever would lower the runners and lock them in place so that pushing the stroller over the snow was as easy as sledding down a hill.

That is why I'm 1000% positive my Dad would figure out something like the old man in the pic did, even though Daddy died 52 years ago.

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at January 19, 2011 5:29 PM


What wonderful memories you have of your father. I suspect that means that your husband is a lucky man indeed.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at January 19, 2011 7:09 PM

That was a beautiful story, Sara.

Posted by: Jewel at January 19, 2011 7:44 PM

Most of my "memories" of my Dad have come from my Mother's Journals that I found after she died. My Dad died when I was 13, and as hard as I try, it gets harder and harder to conger up visions of him or us together. I tend to think in terms of a time of innocence and knowing I was always safe when he was near by and that after he died, I don't really remember feeling that same kind of safe feeling again.

My Mother was a copious Journal keeper, starting when she was between 6 and 7 thru until her stroke took her eyesight at the age of 90. There are so many things in them that tell me more about who she really was than anything I learned being with her. And many things I learned about her feelings about me that she never voiced when she was alive that undid many of the feelings I had that I had disappointed her in some way I never understood. I was able to dump so much old baggage that had weighed our relationship down in subtle ways neither of us ever acknowledged. It was so liberating.

To Rob: I lost my husband in 2002. A couple of years later, friends were encouraging me to start dating again. Not the easiest thing to do when you are already middle-age. They would say, just reinvent yourself and go get laid. Yeah right! However, it did get me thinking what kind of man I would pick and how would he be different from the one I picked over 30 years earlier. So, true to form, I made a pro/con list of all the things my husband did that I really liked, and all the things that made me want to kill him sometimes.

I won't mention the cons, but on the pro side, I listed some oddball things like: always filling the water bucket and putting it on the fire when we were camping without being asked; being able to build me anything I described by say, "I need it this wide, this high, this deep, and to use for XXX, and somehow coming back with the perfect item; always making sure my car was gassed, my tires with the proper air, and if the oil needed changing, etc, doing it - you get the idea, it wasn't the sex, or flowers for my birthday, or some romantic dinner, it was the things he did that made me feel safe and cared for.

Now that I officially reached senior citizen status, I figure even if I still hoped to find someone new, realizing my needs have changed dramatically in the last few years, I doubt there is anyone who would meet my criteria and at the same time find me or want me if they did.

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at January 19, 2011 9:50 PM

[Aside: Sippican was telling me a story like this just this morning. Ask him and maybe he'll tell everyone.]

I think I'd like to hear more of Sara's stories, too, Gerard. Ask her and maybe she'll tell everyone.

Posted by: Jewel at January 20, 2011 12:02 AM

Jewel: Thank you, but I'll let Gerard do the story telling. I do wonder sometimes how he manages to crawl inside my mind.

If you are interested, I have reproduced one of my Mother's diary entries detailing a memory from 1921 that I think is one of my favorites in more ways than I can count. It certainly opened my eyes as I never saw my ultra-talented, brilliant, self-assured Mother ever have doubts about anything, and yet it turns out she was very human afterall and struggled just as I did around the same age.


Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at January 20, 2011 1:06 AM

I found my mother's letters to my dad, and her journal. She died at the age of 29, so there aren't many entries, but she wrote about us when we were little children, and when I became a parent the first time, I felt I understood her a lot more, too. It is a wonderful gift she left you, isn't it!

Posted by: Jewel at January 20, 2011 8:52 AM

Sara and Jewel, what a treasure those journals are.

The photo brought back a memory...add a 1 x 4 across the back of that "plow" and a goodly sized piece of iron. Add a rope on the front and a kid (me, my brother or sister) yell "mush"...and your sidewalk is cleared. My Dad believe in using the resources available to him. We actually enjoyed it too!

Posted by: M*A at January 20, 2011 6:48 PM