June is the month we honor our fathers and memories of my dad bring much to my mind. My father’s name is Frederick and was 59 years old when I was born. As he got older there was a lot he couldn’t do because of his age, but in some ways he did a lot for me that counted more.
He always told me to tell the truth and to stand up for what I believe in. Many times my father would sit me down and tell me about our colorful family history. He would tell me that my great-great-grandfather had come over from from England with his twin brother to fight in the American Revolution and forge a new life for themselves. My grandfather served in the Civil War and fought under General Sherman. My father was born in 1890 and was the youngest of thirteen children, but only six lived beyond the age of 21.
He once told me a story I would never forget. He was 9 years old and saved all year to buy fireworks, which were legal in 1899. When he was about to shoot them off a bully of about 14 threw a match in his box of fireworks, which all went up at once. My father was very angry and beat him up. The bully ran home to tell his father, who came over to complain to my grandfather. My grandfather called my dad to his side and said, “Look at the size of your son and look at the size of my son, your son did a bad thing and deserved what he got. At that the father of the boy pulled his son home and I guess punished him good. My father got married at 19 and had a daughter named Marion. My father had gotten a job at a coffee company and one day working through his lunch to repair one of the machines , someone came in and started up the machines and my father ended up losing two fingers on his right hand. It was 1909 and he didn’t know it at the time but that would saved him from serving in WWI in 1917. Many of his friends who did serve ended up dying in the war. His first wife died in 1941 after 35 years of marriage due to a doctor’s mistake.
World War II started in ’41 and again he was called by the draft board and was excused. He really wanted to serve as before but becasue he lost two fingers was not allowed to serve. He did his part in the war and voluteered as an Air Raid Warden. He met my mother in ’45 and they got married and settled in Queens Village. I was born in ’49. He said he had waited all his life for a son and the best part was I born on his birthday on August 1. My father was a tough little man of 5’4″ at 126 pounds. He always spoke his mind and tried to do what was right. He died in 1973 at age 83.
Let me say this to my dad, “I’m proud you were my father and always will be my dad for you are forever in my heart.”