Afterward, he would go swimming with us, have races, and take me for rides on his back. Our mom would be sunbathing, and occasionally walk in the water up to her knees. We were warned not to get her hair wet under any circumstances. Children who accidentally splashed her were never seen again.
Our dad also delighted in going out for dessert with us for hot fudge sundaes, or the flavor of the month special at HoJo's. Hot apple pie ala mode with chocolate ice cream was also a favorite he shared with my brother. We never made a visit without going to a barbecue hosted by his associate's family who became dear friends.
The only downside were the long drives to and fro. I suffered from motion sickness, and never failed to have my dad pull over several times throughout the trip. In the meantime, my brother would be quietly turning blue with his legs crossed, and tears streaming down his face. All because he didn't want to ask our dad to make anymore unscheduled stops.
Our last vacation to Delaware was when I was fourteen years old. As an added bonus we drove on to a resort in the Catskill Mountains. It was a cleaner version of the one in Dirty Dancing. By day my brother and dad played a lot of tennis, in addition to swimming and playing volleyball with us. By night we went to see shows, or went dancing in a lounge with a live band. As always the vacation went by all too quickly.
Although our dad didn't feel well, he insisted on driving straight home like he always did. Mom suggested spending the night in a motel, or at the very least she would drive, but he wouldn't hear of it. Dad drove through the night, dropped me off at home, and headed to the hospital with my mom and brother.
It wasn't until the next day that I found out Dad had a heart attack, along with latent malaria which he must have contracted in the Navy. Mom assured us he would be fine, so I didn't worry. My brother was smart enough to know better. This was Dad's second out of three heart attacks, and he was only 46 years old.
One of our last family trips was when I was a high school sophomore, and my brother was a college freshman. My brother fixed me up with his friend who needed a date for an NROTC formal. I could've taken the bus to Wisconsin, but Dad offered to have us stay at a hotel, and make a fun weekend out of it.
My dad probably wasn't feeling well at the time, but he never complained. He was so proud of my brother and delighted in visiting the beautiful campus, because he never went away to school. He also loved when my brother joined a frat, as he was president of his fraternity.
I had a great time at the Naval ROTC Ball, which my dad took pleasure in having been a Naval officer. More importantly, I enjoyed the family time that we shared. Sadly, I didn't realize how precious it was. Although he didn't say it often, these special family outings were our dad's way of showing how much he loved us.
Wonderful to read , it;s lovely to look back with pride of yesteryear.ReplyDelete
Your Dad gave you some wonderful memories to hold on to. We are our daddies girls aren't we?ReplyDelete
Great story. This is my favorite of your April posts.ReplyDelete
Mad Men is funny. And my dad was in the military as well. Family time is always special. Found you through Alex - A to Z.ReplyDelete
oh what sweet sweet memoriesReplyDelete
Nice posting, and reminds me of the days when life just seemed so simple. The times have changed, especially Howard Johnson's. The one close to my town left many years ago.ReplyDelete
Your father sounds like a great man. I'm sorry he had so much problems with his heart. It looks like he wanted to live the most of life and that he wanted you to live a great life as well.ReplyDelete
Yvonne - It was nice revisiting those memories. Thanks Yvonne!ReplyDelete
Delores - I just wish I had been more appreciative at the time. Thanks Delores!
Tonja - This really means a lot to me. Thanks Tonja!
RaShelle - Thanks for following me and congrats on your new site about bullying!
Gossip Girl - I remember them being the first coffee shop to offer so many ice cream flavors. Thanks Gossip Girl!
Clarissa - Sadly he had other health issues too, but he did want the most for all of us. Thanks so much Clarissa! Julie
What lovely memories you have.ReplyDelete
Those are wonderful memories, Donna.ReplyDelete
Did have to laugh at the part about children never being seen again though.
Yes yes! I remember these!ReplyDelete
That's great you have such good memories of your dad.ReplyDelete
Thanks Alex and I'm glad you did!
Thanks for stopping by Donna!
Thanks Ruth, and they are good memories! Julie
Julie~ As I was reading this wonderful expedition into the past Kirby called me! I was laughing as I shared your memory of him turning blue. This writing is a beautiful reminder to me of why we all cling so dearly to the past. It's those moment that touch our hearts so profoundly and then stay embedded in the fiber of our very being till we take our last breath. I have been hanging with your dear brother lately and your writing made me realize it is for this very reason I am seeing old friends lately as opposed to new. I'm clinging to comfort of old friends and this is good. Thank you for another great one Julie. I so enjoy your work. xoxoReplyDelete
Laura - My brother has the best memory, and deserves credit for being my trusted story consultant. I'm so glad that you reconnected, and I can't thank you enough for sending so much positive energy my way. You are a wonderful, and generous person Laura, and I'm so happy to know you. Thanks again, Julie xoxoxDelete
Hi Julie! What a sweet post. Your dad was indeed a special dad. What wonderful memories you have.ReplyDelete
What a tender sweet story. I'm so glad you have such great memories of your dad. Glad, too, that you're a writer and were able to share it with us. :)ReplyDelete
What a really nice post! Your dad sounds like he was a great guy!ReplyDelete
This is a nostalgic peek into your past. Your father sounds like he was lovely, and I empathise with your mother's not wanting to get her hair wet, lol! A lovely image. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Those long drives can be killer but sounds like each one was worth it, not until later on we realize how much family time meant to us. I got motion sickness if I read or did anything in the car, so I just had to sit and stare out the window.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story. We started having annual road trips when I was a teenager, and my dad would always drive straight through, too. Those were some of the best times. My hubby hates road trips, but I can get him to take short ones. That'll do. For now. ;-pReplyDelete
L.G. - I thought I'd give my mom a break from the spotlight this time! Thanks so much L.G.!
Thanks for the kind words Sherry!
Denise - Thanks on behalf of my dad, and on behalf of my mom's hair which remains perfectly coiffed!
Pat - Sorry you had to suffer too, and it's true about taking family time for granted! Thanks for following me, and I look forward to getting to know you and that rhyming cat of yours!
Shannon - It's nice that you have those memories. It's also great that you started as a teenager, so you'll have even more stories to remember. Sadly, I can't remember a lot of details from our earlier vacations. Just wait until your kids get older, and you'll start taking college road trips! Thanks Shannon!
Sounds like great memories. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Really thought provoking post and you have some lovely memories, thanks for sharing them, popping by from the A-Z Challenge xReplyDelete
Rambling - Thank you, and I appreciate the visit. Julie
Aside from the sundays at HoJo's our vacation were so different, but the sentiment, the pride, the love, that's the same. A wonderful memory Julie.ReplyDelete
What a great story. I envy you such a good father. Mine was...well, not so good (a combination Ralph Kramden-Archie Bunker-Fred Flintstone was Mal Penwasser).ReplyDelete
But, I also have fond memories of Ho-Jo's. While we never stayed there, it was always a treat to get some pancakes there.
Gene Pool Diva - Thank you for so beautifully conveying the heart of the story!ReplyDelete
Al - Sorry about that Al. Fortunately, you turned it into a positive situation with your wit and charm. I also know that you're a wonderful father who's a combination of Ward Cleaver and Cliff Huxtable! Thanks Al!
So, it's a good thing that I have a collection of ties, wear cardigan sweaters, and love pudding pops?
I knew you wouldn't let me down Al!Delete
Sweet nostalgia... special memories...ReplyDelete
After reading your reflections post about the challenge, where you mentioned this post, I had to come back and read it. Glad I did, too. It brought tears to my eyes, because you did such a wonderful job bringing your memories to life, it was like your memories became my memories, and I experienced the feelings they invoked as though they were mine, firsthand. Beautiful.ReplyDelete
Susan, Thanks so much for the extremely kind and thoughtful words! Remember how you said that I was able to write "off the cuff?" Well, I started this story on the eve of "X" day while I was at the hospital awaiting results from an x-ray. Then I wrote the rest of it when I got home, and asked my brother to verify a few of the dates and facts the following morning, before I posted it after midnight. I had a turtle named Speedy who was faster than I"ll ever be! Thanks for making my day Susan!Delete
It's nice to hear about fathers who want their children's growing up years to be so special. My dad was the same way and I tried to do the same for my kids. Time given and experiences shared are more precious than any material things a parent can give--it's what we remember.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out
Wise words from a wise man. Thanks Lee!ReplyDelete
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