On February 26 my dad would have been age 96. Unbelievable that I can remember someone who would be nearly 100 years old this year. Because my dad was not in my life (on a regular basis) after I was about age 13, my memories are of him as a young man. As with most young girls, my dad was a special hero to me. He was not an overly affectionate man, but he was so handsome and so unique I couldn’t help adoring him – even if we had healthy debates and serious cribbage games when he came to visit.
You may wonder why my picture of him for this story is one of him as a young construction worker during WWII – and one of me in a housecoat. It is for two reasons. The one of him is the way I remember my dad, young, strong, energetic, handsome and rugged. The one of me is in Tillamook, Oregon in 1942 when we were living there on one of dad’s jobs. The housecoat is a blue chenille housecoat and my dad bought it for me when I had the measles. It is my proof that he loved me, even if he didn’t express it very often. Dad loved his cars too, so any pictures of me also showed the latest Craig car. This one was a beautiful Pontiac. I am his oldest child, and first children are always special. I have his eyes and that is also special, I call them “Craig eyes”. He had four other children, and he loved all of us, but I was the first and I was of his young years when he was not settled and wise, as he ended up in later years.
As I studied my dad’s family when I first started genealogy I learned why he was not overly affectionate. I gained knowledge that explained why he was usually somewhat removed from emotion. Sometimes it is dangerous to show that you need others. As I matured I figured out that people have all degrees of love. It isn’t dealt out as a flat rate quantity. Some have more than others. My dad loved me and my brother as much as he was capable of loving at that time. It may not have seemed to be enough to us, but it was all he had to give.
So on his 96th birthday I say “Happy Birthday Dad”. Thank you for having me and being in my life as much as you could be. I understand that you were human and had limitations, just like I do. I am proud to be your daughter and to carry on your genes through my descendants.