The following contains material NSFW. You’ve been warned.
My father passed away recently. This is my first parent to die, and it was not pleasant. Death never is, but my dad had an a-fib issue and walked into the hospital and never left. There was little communication from the doctors about what was wrong and the only information we got was when we asked questions. The part that I’m most upset about is we left at dinner time for the shift change and when we came back he had been intubated and we never got to speak to him again. I was there until the end. I’m glad I was, but it sucked. I know some other Glibs have been going through the same, and my heart goes out to you.
We spent a few days cleaning out some of the stuff in his house and since my dad never threw anything away, we found some interesting things. Lots of random things like pens and pencils that were 40-50 years old, correspondence where he was arguing over $2.00 (yes, two dollars), and every receipt for at least a decade. He also saved stuff that most everyone would have thrown away. It led to a lot of clutter, but not quite near a hoarding level. Some of it he had a plan for because he was an engineer he always thought “how can I make that?” He bought a large HVAC air filter for $1.00 and then cut it down and made it fit the smaller size that was needed. You know, instead of spending the $3.00 for the right size. He was retired so he had the time to do it I guess.
Then we started opening drawers. If there are things you don’t want your kids to find, put them in a box and write “DO NOT OPEN! BURN UPON MY DEATH!” But if you want to creep your kids out, leave it for them to find. This way you get the last laugh.
The story behind this is my dad would go to NASCAR races with some friends. Since he was single they decided to get him a girlfriend. So they named the doll Mabel and dressed her up in lingerie and she sat next to my dad while they drank beer and watched women go by in the infield.
Playboys from this era certainly had a lot of things to read in them. The words on the cover remind me of clickbait now – hot nurses! Hot stewardesses! Girls of the Big 10! And I guess the Canadian women are exotic because they are foreigners or something. “You won’t believe how hot they get when the temperature rises above freezing!” I wonder if it’s the same girls in these photo shoots just with different outfits. I mean no one looks at their faces anyway, right?
Then there’s his DVD collection. Some of them are unopened. You can guess which ones those are.
And two copies of “The Joy of Sex?”
I don’t know if being a pervert is hereditary but there’s a lot of supporting evidence here.
My dad also had a small collection of old coins, mostly late 1800s to early 1900s. Nothing of significant value, but he does have one from 1805. It’s worn and tarnished as you would expect something over 200 years old to be, but the untold history of it I’m sure is fascinating. He had a bunch of Confederate States of America money which when I first saw it looked fake. I haven’t had it verified for authenticity, so unless it’s from a board game from the 1950s it’s probably legit.
We found a lot of pictures, documents, and random items. We never talked about the family tree on that side, but some quick research on the Internet revealed my grandfather had some step-siblings. My uncle may know so I might ask him. My great-grandfather was from Italy, specifically a small town between the toes and the arch of the foot area. Lots of southern Italians migrated to northern West Virginia during the coal boom, and I’m guessing mine came over in the early 1900s. Finding out more details about my ancestors is on my to-do list.
My mom and my dad got divorced when I was only a year or two old. He saved their wedding announcement for some reason. I’m not good at math, but their wedding date is only 6 months before my sister was born. But wait, it gets better! My mother’s name on the marriage certificate is not her maiden name! It appears she had been married before to a name I don’t recognize. I don’t know if I’ll ask her about it. I’ve talked to my sister about this and we had a good laugh.
Since my parents got divorced when I was young I didn’t see much of my dad growing up. We reconnected during college and afterwards when we both lived in Michigan. We were able to have some good times, and while building a relationship was difficult at times, I’m glad we did. He drove out to Nashville this last Thanksgiving, and we had a great visit. We saw Ford v. Ferrari and really enjoyed it. He was a mechanical engineer and a car guy so we talked about the swapping of the wheel hub instead of the brakes. That’s from the movie if it doesn’t make sense to you.
I suppose there is always some regret in a relationship over things that were never said or done, or things that were. He was the definition of a curmudgeon and independent until the end. But like I said at his funeral, “he made people happy. He made people mad. These were often the same people.”
We were in Houston over the weekend and it was harder this time going through his things. Maybe it will be easier the next time we are there. I think the part I struggle with is he had a lot of things he liked to do and things he wanted to do, but they were left undone. Did he lose interest or was he just unable to do them? Or was he too busy smoking a cigar on the back patio?
If you are in the Houston area, or are willing to come to Houston to pick this all up, I have a shit-ton of reloading supplies and equipment – presses, powder, shot, 12 gauge shells, pistol and rifle brass, and bullets I’m looking to depart with. Ask SP to pass along a message.