Sunday, June 15, 2008



This is a photo of my father, taken in the late 1980's, I believe. There is a funny story behind it. He had the hiccups the day of the portrait-taking (the same day as the portrait of Mom that I posted on Mother's Day) and nothing would stop them. I have a picture of Mom and Dad taken that same day and he has a small, wry smile on his face, no doubt as a result of the difficulty he was having holding still. My mother later expressed how irritated she has been at the time, but Dad probably didn't know my tried-and-true hiccup cure. (Drink 10 swallows of water without taking any breaths in between.) ;-)

My dad passed away in April, 1991 at the age of 66. In my steamer "treasure" trunk, I found a diary that my grandfather had kept of my dad's youngest years (my grandfather was 50 when Dad was born; Dad was the youngest of 10 children -- and yes, they were Mormons). My youngest sister Kathy had obtained it and made a copy of it for me for Mother's Day the year Dad died. I had never read through it. Actually, many of the things Dad was doing were typical of young children but Grandpa did write them up so that they sounded exceptionally cute.

My dad was named Stanford after 6 months of not having a name decided upon, other than being called "Skeezix." (I don't have this documented, but I remember my brother Frank saying this at Dad's funeral.) My Grandpa apparently decided on the name Stanford after that amount of time because he was attending Stanford University then. (Those were days well before women's liberation; my grandfather was the one who named all the children, which my grandmother privately resented, as my mother told me at one time much later on.)

When I was in grade school, my father taught junior high science and he would take my younger brother and sister and I to his classroom sometimes in the evenings so he could preview movies that he would show in his class. One particular favorite of mine showed microbes crawling to the tune of Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King." As is so often the case with childhood experiences, that bit of classical music became a favorite of mine.

On one of my birthdays, perhaps 8th or 9th, I had a birthday party where my dad took my little friends on a hike with us. He had a great time and they did, too. He was a very pleasant and enjoyable person to be around.

I loved my father very dearly. I was saddened that the difference of religion that developed between us created a rift during the last few years of his life. Those things happen, though. There are aspects of life that have to be forgiven. It seems that, as the years pass, often a tolerance for human frailties grows and develops. Maybe it's kind of like learning to laugh at incurable hiccups during a portrait sitting.

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