Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pop!

My Dad would have been 85 today. I've written other posts about my Dad, there was a poem on Father's Day, and a post on the Anniversary of his death. This post is going to be mostly a picture post, but I'd like to share a little of the man that was so important to so many of us in our family.
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.


  1. Eileen...beautiful post about your Pop. I know I must be a baby, because I'm crying... The fact that your Pop and Mom gave of themselves for their family says volumes. Love. Love...
    I see it here...I feel it here. You've done a wonderful job with the photos and the birthday tribute to your Pop.

  2. Oh, Eileen, this is precious! Your love for your dad oozes with every word that you've written...he had such a love for his family, and a very special daughter in you. The photos of your family are is such a gift from God, and yours was truly a gift of love. You must miss them both so much. Happy birthday to your Pop.

    hugs and more hugs,

  3. Eileen- How very special. I can feel through your words how much you adored your Father... Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures- they are true treasures! Your parents are alive through you! Lori

  4. I dont think the missing part ever goes away Eileen. Thanks for showing us these memories.

  5. Good morning Eileen, very nice post describing your Dad. It's obvious how much you love and miss some photos you look like your Mom and in others, your Dad. Do you have your Dad's blue eyes?...I got mine from my Dad.

    I love how he tried to right all situations for your Mom. I have a husband like that and it makes me feel quilty sometimes...when I gripe about something without thinking first.

    I enjoyed all the old photos, he was a very cute baby and handsome man. Your parents were a lovely couple Eileen. You have nice memories!

    Smiles and Luv,

  6. Very sweet Eileen. I loved seeing all of the old photos. The photo of your mom and dad with your brother Tommy looked like an old Hollywood photo of two actors and there new baby!
    What sweet memories your parents gave you! It's no wonder that you miss them so much. Love to you, Love Di


    Oh my this is all so wonderful to read about and to see the pictures. I am all filled up with tears. Your words about your Dad and Mom too are such a tribute to them and to the real meaning of "family". Happy Birthday to your 'Pop" - his life is a celebration!

    Love to you and yours

  8. Hi Dear One,
    This is a wonderful post about your Dad, sweetie. He sounds like a loving, honorable man...someone anyone would be glad to call friend. I am well acquainted with what your heart is feeling today, and want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, my friend. Thank you for sharing your special Dad with us. May God hold you in His arms today, comfort you, and dry any tears that may fall.
    Blessings and hugs,

  9. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man! His character and actions are mirrored in your life and love for YOUR children and grandchildren....

    Draw strength from the memories and let tears seal your love and respect for your very, very special father.

  10. Rest In Peace, sweet Daddy.

  11. Good afternoon Eileen, What a wonderful and heart felt post. I loved reading it. Your dad sounds like such a special man. I love the picture of him and Jayden. Your mom sounds like a lovely person too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I am going to say a special little prayer today for your mom, dad, and all of your family.

  12. I forgot to tell you Eileen that the photo of your dad as a baby was so precious! I loved it.
    Love Di

  13. Thank you to everyone for visiting and for all your kind thoughts, words, and prayers, I really appreciate you all!
    I do miss my both my parents a lot, but I do know that they are both in a better place, and I do feel them all around me.

    And I really felt at peace today.

    Oh, and thanks, Diana, I always loved that picture of my Dad as a baby, ever since I was a little girl, I just thought he was the cutest little thing!

    God Bless you all!
    Love, Eileen

  14. And for my sisters ~
    We were Blessed!

    Can't imagine a better childhood, can you?
    'Wish we could back together to just one ordinary day, in that little house, preferably a hot, summer day, with Mom hanging wash on the back line, and us in the yard in our little flowered sun suits, making mud pies, and Diane eating dirt! And Mom-Mom coming over with black-and-whites from the bakery.
    Just for a moment, just one happy moment in time.
    And, well, you know!

  15. I am not able to put down in words what is in my heart today. But, I do just want to go home again, even for just an hour of Little Orphan Annie, Dondie(spelling) and Dick Tracey. You all know what I'm talking about. I love you all.


  16. You have some very special pics and some are real treasures!!! God bless you! Cathy

  17. Marybeth ~
    How about the living room, playing with our 'funny guys' while Mom exercises to the Jack LaLane Show! But first we help her fold up the Castro Convertible couch and take two chairs from the dining room (remember Jack LaLane always used a chair to lean on, and we would need an extra chair in case we wanted to try some of the exercises too!).

    Or better, a Saturday, with Dad home, sitting reading his newspaper, the smell of coffee brewing, sticky buns and crumb buns waiting on the kitchen table.

    All good.
    Love you lots, me

  18. Eileen...I absolutely love the picture of your Dad as a baby...he was adorable! And I really liked the one of him in the Coast Guard! He was sure a very handsome young man...and continued to be a handsome man...I love all the pics of your parents and your really have such a lovely family! I love what Lori said...that your parents are still alive through you...and that is so true...they must have just been really sweet and amazing people...because that is what you are!!
    Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures and such heartfelt feelings....
    Love You........:) Jerelene

  19. Hi Eileen,
    I loved the photos of your wonderful dad, and especially the one of him and Jayden. I think your dad was a beautiful baby and a handsome and beautiful man. I can see Jayden in him. It is so amazing how life cycles around, and families are so very precious. Thankyou for sharing these photos, I loved them all! ((((HUGS)))) T

  20. Hello my friend, wonderful tribute to your dad and so nice to read how much your sisters appreciated it as well. You all have so many wonderful memories.....I loved all the photo's (I have a picture of my husband's baby picture, he was born in England and he had a dress on as well and I love it) I love how you share your feelings of missing and loving your parents....luv ya.....:-) Hugs

  21. What a beautiful post. I am quite captivated by the pictures and have come back several times to look at them again. The one as a baby where he is sitting backwards in the chair, was an unusual pose for back then...most older pictures are not so creative. Also, the one of your parents with their first child in his does not see pictures like that either for this time period. It's so nice you have all these great pictures!