Monday, March 12, 2012

Thoughts About My Pop

As the oldest child and son of Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr., I find that I am turning into my father.  Not only do I now strongly resemble him in physical appearance, I have many of his same mannerisms.

The photos displayed on this post are of my father at age 70.  I am 70 years old now.  My father died in 2000, at the age of 80.  He did not have one gray hair on his head.  His beard was white, as is mine but no gray hairs.  All of his ten brothers didn't have gray or white hair either.

I have some gray hair on the sides of my head and a few gray hairs on the top of my head.  Those gray hairs come from my Mother's side of the family.  My grandfather George Hadfield had steel gray hair.  I'll never have a head of solid white hair which is just fine by me.

I was never close to my father.  More his choice than mine.  My good friend said my he was always afraid of my father.  I told him I was always afraid of him too.

I've written about my relationship with my father before in previous blog postings so I won't repeat myself now.  However, the one thing I will never forget about my father is that whatever I did, it wasn't good enough for my father.  He mocked me the whole time I was growing up.  By the time I left home at 18 years of age to join the Army, I thought I was the biggest loser in the world.  I matured a lot during my three years in the Army.  I found out that I wasn't the Worst Son In The World.

A few years after my father died my Mother told me that Pop was surprised that I completed a three year tour of duty in the Army. I couldn't  believe what I heard.  She said "Pop didn't think you would make it through basic training."  I was totally confused.  I told her "I had problems in basic training but I was always going to complete basic training.  I never considered the option of quitting.  Never."  

I wasn't angry when I she told me this news.  I felt sad.  Sad that my father thought so little of me that he didn't even consider the possibility that I would succeed.

Me (center) with my brother John (on left) and my father - 1962

After my father died, my Mother gave me a picture he had in his wallet.  The picture is below.  I did not know he had this photo of me which was taken on the firing range at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland in 1962.  This must have been the original photo because I had no other copy.  I had forgotten about it.

I'm on the right

Who knows, maybe he was proud of me after all.  It's a shame he never told me.


Roger said...

Great post today! Just the opposite here my hair started grayin in my 20's. Just for Men has come along way since then. I still use it once every couple of months now at 50. :-)

Mark said...

You're gonna make me cry.

Kim Ayres said...

I think nearly all men's relationship with their father has a profound effect on their lives. He's our first role model.

I remember someone once saying we spend our entire lives either looking for our father's approval, or kicking against the old bastard in defiance.

Ron said...


Thank you for your kind compliment. My first gray hair didn't show up until about five (age 65) years ago. However, my beard on my chin is all white. Been that way for over 25 years now. I've been using Just For Men that long too!

Ron said...


My father and I had a very interesting relationship. In many ways it was typical, I was always seeking approval and rarely got it. In fact, I don't remember one time that I got it but my Mom did tell me that he was proud of me. He never told me though.

Ron said...


You are exactly right (as usual)!

Ur-spo said...

turning into our parents is the primal scream of children throughout history.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

Oh yes, you are so right. Our parents, at least mine, have left me with issues the rest of my life that I will probably never resolve.

Tony said...

ron, how odd that i read this post just after a night when i dreamed about my father. i would say that, despite behavior that suggests otherwise, all fathers love their sons and have pride in them. the picture you found attests to this. as you mentioned, fathers in the past were mostly breadwinners and disciplinarians, and that was passed down. but they were also human, and that was also passed down. can you imagine your father living today as a dad, changing diapers and sharing childrearing duties with your mom? how times have changed!

but since he is gone the most important thing is how you succeeded in being proud of yourself.

Ron said...


I was very surprised when my Mother gave me that picture that my father had carried around in his wallet. It was a picture I didn't even have a copy of and had forgotten about. Knowing that he carried that picture of me all those years gave me a warm feeling that maybe he didn't think I was a failure after all. That meant a lot to me.