My dad has long held my attention with his humorous and animated stories. As my brothers and I were growing up, we lived far away from aunts, uncles, and cousins. Since he was in the Air Force, we moved from place to face, and none were ever in near proximity to either my mom or dad’s families. But my dad still shared stories about his childhood that made us feel like we knew a bit more about his parents and brothers and sisters – despite the fact that we rarely saw them. My dad’s parents died when I was very young – my grandpa when I was 6 months old, and my grandma when i was 2. I have no memories of them, except for those shared by my dad and his siblings…
However, my dad’s stories of childhood reminded me very much of a Dennis-the-Menace-meets-Norman-Rockwell kind of thing. My dad was child #5 in a family of 10 kids. There were 5 boys and 5 girls, 5 of whom were redheads. (Can you imagine!)
My grandpa worked hard – was a veteran of World War II – and my dad had the pleasure of growing up around his family. They spent many times together, celebrating holidays and sharing meals together – and I heard that they sat around singing together.
Now my dad was a firecracker. He was adventurous and fearless from all I’ve heard – and not just from him. If there was trouble to be found, apparently, my dad could find it. Not a bad kid – just a kid!
He would tell stories about different events and activities but there are two that are my favorite. I’ll share one here now:
When my dad was younger, for some reason (which I can’t remember), he decided to run away. His family lived in a rural setting with lots of room to run and play. He packed himself up a little hobo bag of his treasures, tied it to a stick and threw it over his shoulder. Off he went, into the unknown, but knowing it was time for him to go. As he left his driveway and rounded the corner onto the road, he could hear a tumult of voices hollering. Thinking maybe his family was mourning his loss and begging for his return, he turned to look. There, on the roof of the barn, were many of his siblings hollering and waving their arms. He was really pleased at their obvious panic, until he realized that they were yelling,
“Don’t come back! Keep going!”
Now there is some brotherly love, huh? My dad always ended this story with the following conclusion:
So I turned around and went back home. Just to spite them!
He always grinned when he said that, and that always made us laugh.