And if any family is reading here today, please feel free to share your memories too.
My father was not a boastful man, in fact he was very unassuming. He was quiet, and he was humble. He was a very smart man, he had a wonderful sense of humor, and we knew we could always rely on him. He worked hard for our family and he sacrificed a lot, everything he did, he did with others in mind, never a thought for himself. He didn't ask for much in life, and it took very little to please him.
My Mom was the love of his life.
I don't know what was harder to watch, my Mom deteriorating from Alzheimer's disease, or watching my Dad's pain as he lost his girl to this insidious disease. My Dad was always able to make any situation right for my Mom, but this was one time he couldn't be her Knight In Shining Armor. He tried to take care of her as best he could, but he was deteriorating himself physically from a neurological disease. The task of caring for my Mom was impossible for him, a very bitter pill for him to swallow, and he was in denial of the reality of this situation for a long, long time. I think my Dad felt that he failed my Mom, in fact, I think my Dad thought this was his greatest failure in life.
My Dad was a very simple man, who led a very simple life, he didn't ask for much, but he gave a great deal to others. My father did very well for himself, and he and my Mom could have led a very 'cushy' life, but instead, everything my Dad worked for went to their seven children. My parents could have traveled, they could have bought themselves vacation homes, they could have treated themselves to so much, but they opted to take care of their children and grandchildren instead. They made sure everyone else was taken care of before they ever had a thought for themselves. Everybody else came first.
That was typical. That's who my Dad was.
Here's my Dad's baby picture.
I think my Dad was such a beautiful baby! When we were little we used to laugh and laugh at this picture and ask my grandmother why she dressed my Dad in girls clothes! She told us, "That's how all babies were dressed back then!"
My Dad was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, and he was an only child, but you would never know it, as he was not the least bit spoiled.
My Dad was in the Coast Guard during World War II. He joined when he was seventeen and he needed to have his father sign permission papers for him.
Here's some random pictures I came across recently:
My Mom and Dad with my oldest brother Tommy when he was just a few weeks old.
My Dad with my oldest brother Tommy (I think Tom was about a year old here).
It seems like there was always a party going on in our family. We were either going to celebrate at a relatives house or they were coming to our house. Here we're off in the family station wagon. (left to right: myself holding packages, my sister Diane, my brother Frankie, my Dad, my brother Joey standing in front of Dad).
Thanksgiving 1971 (left to right: my sister Diane, myself, my brother Frankie, my brother Tom, my Dad)
Pop helping my youngest brother Joey with his homework at the dining room table.
This was taken at another family party.
(Standing left to right: my brother Frankie, my sister Diane, my brother John, my sister Marybeth, my brother Tom with Mom and Dad seated)
Here's my Dad 'protecting' my Mom from me! I was trying to take their picture and my Mom said that she didn't have her make-up on and didn't have her hair combed, and I had said, "Oh, so what, you look beautiful anyway!", and I lifted the camera up to take the picture and she said, "Frank, do something!", and this is what he did! I remember her saying to him, "What are you doing?" And he said, "Well, I thought we didn't want our picture taken so I was hiding us from the camera!" We laughed so hard.
This is my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary party. I think it was the last time we were all together. (Standing left to right: my sister Diane, my brother Tom, my Dad, my brother John, myself.
Seated left to right: my brother Frankie, my Mom, my sister Marybeth, my brother Joseph)
This picture was taken of my Dad when he was in hospice care, Jayden used to love to climb up onto the bed with him.
Happy Birthday, Pop!
I really still miss them both so much.