Tuesday, November 16, 2010
My Dad Turns 80 Today!
How does it feel to be 80?
(Long pause.) When you say 80, that doesn’t mean much to me. I think back on my life, and I’ve had a good life. Many blessings. A great family. A wonderful family. Years don’t mean anything to me. I have had health struggles, but I don’t blame it on age. I’m very happy with life.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in your lifetime?
The speed of life today is frightening. Everyone is in a big hurry. Technology is great, but we have too much communication with the internet and TV. Like when we watched the miners being rescued in Chile. Years ago, we would read about it a week later.
I am bothered by how people treat each other. There is a loss of respect. People have forgotten how to get along and live with other people.
There have also been a lot of good changes. Living today is very comfortable compared to years ago.
What was is like growing up in the Depression?
I always had something to eat. I know that my mother and dad struggled a lot. My mother struggled with health problems. My dad had a hard time finding work. I remember him going out and trying to do any kind of work – fixing a car or planting a tree. Around the mid-30’s, my father found a job in the steel mill and things got better. WWII created work – factories needed to supply tanks, planes, and ammunition to our Allies. Things got pretty good then.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned from your parents?
My parents taught me that family was very important. My parents and my grandparents were always pro-family. I’ve tried to duplicate their way of living.
My parents were always honest in their feelings and they loved each other.
Your parents were married almost 60 years and you’ve been married 54 years. What’s the secret to a great marriage?
A great woman.
What are some of your most vivid memories?
Dating your mother. After retiring, going places with my wife and traveling. Doing things and going places we always dreamed about.
If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I would make sure I had a college degree. I wouldn’t have spent so much money on automobiles.
You’re Navy veteran. What does being a veteran mean to you?
Being very proud that I spent time in the Navy. Doing duty for my country. I made 32 round trips across the Pacific. We were taking troops to Korea and rotating troops to different islands during the Korean War. The Navy gave me schooling opportunities – I chose weather forecasting school in Lakehurst, NJ. Even today I can read weather maps and tell you what the weather is going to be like.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
We have five wonderful daughters who are all happily married. My daughters are all different, but they are all special in their own ways. We have 14 grandchildren. They are all special in their own ways. I’m very happy. I think that God has blessed me richly with my wonderful wife and family.
Is there anything you still wish you could do?
I wish I had the strength to play golf. To walk on the beach. To work in the yard. To just to have the ability to get around.
What’s the best advice you can give to younger generations?
Be honest with yourself as well as others. Know both your capabilities and your limits. Make sure you diversity – don’t put everything in one basket. Don’t forget God in your life.
How did your faith become stronger over the years?
I have to give a lot of credit to my wife. She never gave up.
Is there anything you would like to say to the blogging world?
Be very careful. There’s people out there who are looking for others to make a mistake. There are people out there who looking to criticize and misuse what you say.
Happy Birthday Dad, and thanks for a great interview! (For more posts about my dad, see How An Old-Fashioned Father Father Raised Five Loyal Daughters and Thanks For Fighting Dad. )