Sunday, June 19, 2011

My dad was a great father

Fathers Day is a special day.  A day to sit back and reflect on our fathers.  I wish I had more memories of my dad.  As most of all of you know my dad died when he was only 49 and I was 14.  He was a good father and a hard worker.  He never graduated from high school because he had to drop out and take care of his dying father.  Yet that did not stop him.  He did go on and become a 1st class boilerman engineer something he was so very proud of.  He was in charge of the boilers for many schools in the Racine Unified school system.  One of the schools he was in charge of had a large gang population.  The school was consistently getting all of the windows broken out of due to vandalism and the grafitti was horrible.  My dad knew something had to be done and the boys doing the vanalism needed guidance.  So he got all of the boys in the gang together along with the leader of the gang.  You know to this day I still remember that kids name.  I won't say it just in case he has turned his life around and doesn't want to be remembered by who he use to be.  My dad became friends with him.  My dad could make friends with anyone.  So my dad ended up giving each one of those boys a job working at the school with him.  Nothing exciting like cleaning the halls of the school with those big floor cleaning machines etc.  Taking them to a ball game.  He became like their second father or the father they did not have.  Within a very short period of time the vandalism in the school stopped.  Those boys could not wait until my father showed up for work just so they could help him out.  When I got into junior high the leader of the gang heard my last name and he asked if I knew John.  I said yes and all he could do was rave about what a great guy my dad was but I already knew that.  When my dad died in my last year of junior high all of those boys came to the funeral.  That young man did graduate from high school.  He was in my graduation class.  Where he is now I do not know, but what I do know is my dad had a lot to do with him graduating instead of ending up in a reform school.  I don't have many memories but what I do have are good memories.  So to you father I say  Happy Fathers Day.  I wish I had more years with you than I had.    It has been 43 years since the last Fathers Day we spent together and I don't care what anybody says it still hurts not to have you here with me on this day.  I miss you a lot.  Your little girl.

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