Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013 / Thinking about our father

Our father died of congestive heart failure on St. Patrick's Day of 2003. In the above photo taken in April of 1977, our father was 63 years old -- the age I am now.  The photo was taken by our mother somewhere in Mendocino County, California -- probably not far from where they lived in the tiny coastside town of Gualala.

I'm thinking about our father today and his life's journey beginning with his birth in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1914; his travels to the East Coast with his father and a historian in the 1930s; his move to Los Angeles, California, in the late 1930s; his first marriage (which was a secret until after our mother died); his marriage to my mother and their move to San Francisco in 1948; their moves to San Mateo, Palo Alto, Taft, and Redwood City, California, before I was 8 years old; their move to Gualala when he retired in 1974; his retirement travels to Norway, the Orkney Islands, the Middle East, China and India; his move to where I live in Bellingham, Washington, after the death of our mother in December of 1994; his move in August 2001 to Seattle, Washington, to live near his youngest daughter, her husband, and their son (our father's only grandchild); and ending with his ashes being buried, at his request, in Minneapolis, next to our mother, his younger brother, and his parents.

I don't think of his spirit as being in Minnesota, though.  I still think of him and our mother living their quiet and private lives close to the Pacific Ocean.

Here is more about our father from a previous post:

"On the day after my father died, I walked alone on a beach in West Seattle and looked out at the relatively calm expanse of salt water, which suddenly appeared to me to be much like my father. I could only see its surface from my place on the shore. I knew nothing of its depths and neither did anyone else."

Here is the view from my porch today:


Taradharma said...

some parents can be particularly opaque, especially in those of your father's generation (and mine). That's a handsome man in that photo. You shall always think of him on St. Patrick's day, no doubt, and that's a good thing. He really did get around, didn't he? Sounds like a pretty good life.

Goat said...

Yes, he did cover a lot of ground. It is funny how little we sometimes know about our parents. I only recently learned that mine were married within six months of meeting. Maybe not that unusual - but they've never done anything in my experience without endless, meticulous planning and preparation, so I was delighted to learn of this uncharacteristic spontaneity! (And they've now been married 50 years.)

Anonymous said...

A beautiful memorial tribute to your dad.

bev said...

"I don't think of his spirit as being in Minnesota, though. I still think of him and our mother living their quiet and private lives close to the Pacific Ocean."

It's interesting how when we think of someone's spirit, we may associate it as being in one place or another. I think of Don's spirit as being in Nova Scotia or out in the PNW to places we traveled in 2006. Rarely do I think of him as being in the area where we had our farm for 33 years.