Sunday, June 19, 2011
Happy Father's Day to John and Richard
My dad loved fishing so some family trips involved going to a lake or river near Seattle where we lived from 1965-69. His love of fishing didn't get passed down to my brother or me but many of his other habits did.
We moved to West Virginia in 1969 when I was in second grade and Joe in kindergarten. Each week, Dad would take us with him when he deposited his paycheck at the bank. He opened passbook savings accounts for each of us (this was waaay back before personal computers and ATM machines, for any young'uns who may be reading this!)
We had to put 1/2 of our allowance, and Christmas and birthday money from the grandparents, in the bank to save for college, and the other half could be used however we pleased. This went on until high school.
Senior year, I applied at two relatively affordable colleges that had graphic design programs -- Ohio University and University of Dayton. On the same mid-summer day, I received letters from each. Dayton was raising its rates and OU gave me a $500 scholarship. Decision made!
I got the bill for the first quarter of school. It was $1,440! I was shocked! I only had about $1,800 in my account and it had taken MY ENTIRE LIFE to save that much. And there were going to be 11 more quarters! Talk about learning the value of a dollar! My brother and I are good savers and money stays in the pocket more than it goes out.
Dad liked technology. He started his career as an aeronautical engineer at Boeing (he was a casualty of the 1969-71 Boeing downturn when 90,000 of 142,000 jobs were cut) but he later used his engineering skills at the W.V. Department of Highways and never lost his love of learning and making or repairing things. He knew how to use a slide rule, thus appreciating even more his favorite piece of technology...a Texas Instruments calculator! He bought us the full set of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedia in weekly installments from the grocery store, and occasionally bought a handy gadget "as seen on TV."
He died in 1981 and I often think of how absolutely amazed he would be by an Excel spreadsheet and Google, the world's always-current encyclopedia and shopping center, and Hulu and streaming Netflix to watch theater movies within months of release rather than waiting five years for them to be shown on TV "for free." He understood the theoretical possibility of such things and I'm sorry he didn't get to see them become everyday realities.
I now have a stepfather who is a lot like my first dad. He is funny, good with a dollar, likes to play games, can fix just about anything, and takes good care of my mother. Joe and I are lucky...we hit the Dad Jackpot twice! Happy Father's Day Richard!