|Pop with smoking his pipe which eventually caused his death (lung cancer) 1991 - master of all he surveys|
Father's Day is almost over this year and I debated whether or not I wanted to even post about this day.
As regular readers of my blog know, I did not have a close relationship with my father.
I am the oldest of his three sons (Isaac, Jr, and John).
|Me (standing apart to the right as I do in most of my childhood pictures - a portend of things to come?) with Pop's Packard - 1947|
"Pop", as we called him, was a charmer to the ladies but I don't believe he ever wanted children.
Oh sure, I think for a brief moment (or two) he like the novelty of having a child and a son, even though my Mother wanted a girl.
|Me on Pop's shoulders 1942 - I was always envious of dads who carried their kids on their shoulders and wished I had the experience. Apparently I did but I was too young to remember this experience|
|Pop (back row, far right, tallest) and his ten brothers - 1961|
My father died in August of 2000 at eighty years of age of lung cancer.
|Me with Pop a week before he died - 2000|
Maybe he felt me and my brothers hindered him and his carefree ways.
Until my Mother reined him in, he cheated on her constantly during their early years of marriage.
I didn't know this until after he died and my Mother "spilled the beans." I guess she just wanted to set the record straight.
She told me one time she was crossing the street in Coatesville, holding onto the hands of me and my younger brother Isaac. As she was crossing the street she noticed my father in driver's seat in the car stopped at the red light. He had a woman (his current girlfriend) in the passenger seat.
My Mother said she opened the back door of the car and started to get in with me and my brother. My father told her "Get out!" She told him "No I'm not getting out. You have three small children (my other brother was still a baby and at home) that you have to take care of. You're going to drop your girlfriend off and come home and be a father to your children or I'll leave you."
Now the funny thing about my father was that he totally loved my Mother. But he was also a charmer and loved the ladies. He was a cross country truck driver (during the war) and would be gone for weeks, leaving my Mother to fend for herself in feeding "her boys" (the way she always referred to me and my brothers). Also, the funny thing is that my Mother totally loved my father. But Pop had a wandering eye and the ladies did love that big man. In fact, I have a letter my Mother saved from a woman who sent it to my Mother. She wrote to my Mother that she would never be able to hold onto her husband because he was a "big man" (which he was by the way, in more ways than one). My Mother wanted me to destroy that letter after I read it but I didn't. I still have it.
|Ike Tipton - The Charmer - 1941|
Prior to discovering him with a girlfriend in his car, my Mother didn't realize he was spending the family money on his girlfriends. After that episode my Mother took over the finances of the family.
She ran the household from that date on. She told me Pop still flirted with the ladies (he did until the day he died) but she didn't think he ever had intimate relations with them after that encounter.
|Mom and Pop - Christmas 1980 in the kitchen - he knew he had a good thing with Mom|
Mom kept the family together and that's why to this day I honor her on Mother's Day but I feel nothing for Father's Day.
My father wasn't a bad person but he wasn't what I consider a father to me either. He constantly put me down. Made fun of my appearance (called me "beak" because of my prominent nose). Called me "stupid". He never had anything good to say to me. In fact, and I am ashamed to admit this, I was afraid of him. Of course I always sought his approval but never received it. I never got one compliment from him during my lifetime. Not one word of encouragement.
When I left home at 18 years of age to join the Army I was a mess. I had zero self confidence (still have a degree) and was scared of my own shadow. But I knew I had to leave home.
The three years I spent in the Army were the most beneficial of my life because I gained confidence in myself. I wasn't this horrible, awful loser that my father brainwashed me into thinking about myself.
Many years after I left the Army and had a successful banking job in Philadelphia, I was having a casual conversation with my Mother. She told me something that shocked me, even to this day. She said "Pop didn't think you could ever make it." I said "Make what?" She said "Get through the Army." I said "Why wouldn't I make it?" She said "He just didn't think you had it in you."
I was so shocked when I heard this, of just how low his opinion of me was. I was hurt and shocked. Sure, I had a difficult time in basic training but I was determined to "make it." There were several times when I almost didn't make it but I was so determined that I remember thinking at the time "I'll have to die before I drop out of this forced march."
Another time I almost blew myself up with a hand grenade (I didn't know how the pin worked). Again, the thought of quitting was never an option for me, I was determined to "make it", and the only thing that would stop me would be death.
I've often thought over the years "Where did I get this determination?" Then I figured it out, that was my Mother's genes taking over. She never gave up on life even though she had a very rough beginning. She never gave up on my Father even though he cheated on her and spent all the family money on floozies. She never gave up on keeping the family together and she never gave up on him.
And she never gave up on me which is why I am the person I am today.
My father was childlike in many ways. You might say my Mother raised FOUR boys.
|Pop with a Christmas teddy bear that I bought for my Mother - he softened up somewhat in his twilight years - in this picture he is about the age (73) that I am now|