Archive for January, 2010

January 27, 2010

>daddy memories #10

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Dear Dad,
Today is the second anniversary of your death and the day of your passing is still so fresh in my memory that you would think it just happened hours a go. The smell of the candle burning in your room. The bustle of people. Your last breath. All burned into my brain, even though that day was 730 days a go.
But a lot has happened in that 730 days.
Hadley, your first grandbaby, was born over 18 months a go. She is now a bubbly, giggly, busy little girl who is growing like a weed. While you never met Jonathan, she looks a lot like him in her coloring, but the shape of her nose and eyes and her scowl are all Copeland. As I watch her now on her rocking horse, wearing her rabbit sleepers and purple tutu while she watches Sesame Street, I just know that you would have been absolutely delighted and in love with her.
And as our good fortune has been with children, we are expecting another little girl. In 11 short weeks. Her 4D scan showed that she was growing well and looks a lot like her sister, however, hair could be seen. Maybe her coloring will be more like ours. We haven’t sorted out a name yet, but I am certain you would have been just as thrilled with this new bundle as you would have been with Hadley.
I talk about Grandpa Kern often and mom makes it a good point to spoil Hadley for the both of you. Your memory will live on in our house and your little grandbabies will know so much about their Grandpa, I promise you.
Another happening in the last year is that I sold the Vegas and Colorado houses. You probably would have had a small heart attack about what we sold Vegas for, but bottom line is that market tanked and will likely never rebound to where it was when you bought that house.
However, I was able to take my 50% of the proceeds and purchase my first home. In Minnesota. Crazy as it seems, Minneapolis is a thriving city and our location puts us in a public school district that ranks in the 90% of the nation. Your grandbabies are sure to get an excellent education in a safe place with lots, and lots, and lots of snow! Regardless of the weather, I think you would have been proud of my purchase and the good decision I made.
Dad, there is so much to share. I still have the days where I think, “I should give dad a call right now” and boy would we have so much to talk about. But then I remember that isn’t a possibility. And sometimes I feel angry, that you left us too soon. But I also know that you were so unbelievably ill that you are resting more comfortably now. I find comfort in knowing that.
Anyway, I guess I could ramble on forever in this small little corner of the internet, knowing full well that you can’t even read this. But if you can, know that you are never far from any of our thoughts. We talk of you daily, remember fondly, and love you dearly.
Lot’s of love,
Camma Sue
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January 27, 2010

>daddy memories #9

>Today I loaded up Hadley and drove 15 minutes south to visit my mom. A good rainy afternoon activity. In the city my mom lives in there is a second hand baby/children’s goods store. It’s hit or miss when I go in there, and while they didn’t have what I was specifically looking for, my mom stumbled across a treasure. “The Velveteen Rabbit” on CD, narrated by Meryl Streep and music by George Winston. The same recording I listed to over and over and over again at bed time when I was a kid. It was a find my father made and introduced to my brother and I shortly after a big, the first of our memory, earthquake struck. For some reason, this recording at bedtime calmed and soothed us to sleep, almost as if it was an earthquake repellant.

“The Velveteen Rabbit,” also known as “How Toys Became Real,” was written my Marjery Williams and was first published in 1922. The story is lovely… The journey of a young stuffed toy rabbit as he is forgotten about by his owner, then remembered and loved so much that he became real.
I loved stuffed animals and baby dolls. I had a bedroom full of them. I would spend hours upon hours in my bedroom playing school, or doctor or any other make believe game that struck my fancy.
Every so often, usually in the morning, my dad would wake me up and tell me that he caught my teddy bear, Sampson, running around the house at night. That he was “real.” And let me tell you, I believed him. Sampson was a loved teddy bear – matted, a missing mouth, filthy. According to “The Velveteen Rabbit” rules, he was real. I still have that bear, he is packed down in storage for the moment. And while he doesn’t run a muck like my father had my little brain convinced of, he was my loved teddy bear.
As I mentioned in previous posts, my dad was a pack rat and had three garages and two houses full of stuff, including books. I let a lot of the books go, but I did find an old copy of “The Velveteen Rabbit” to save for my children. It’s a little ratty and brittle, so it’s tucked safely away. But it’s a nice thing to pull out, remember and share with my daughters about their grandpa who they were never able to meet. His memory will be kept alive through that story because of the make believe he encouraged in me.
January 26, 2010

>daddy memories #8

>How many kids had a zip line through their urban forest? That’s right… In addition to our farm and orchard, my dad put up a zip line contraption that ran from the back of the property almost to the back door of the house. Only problem was that it sagged miserably and was never really used. But he thought his contraption was pretty cool!

After my parents divorced when I was 14, my mom remodeled the back yard and the zip line went away. I don’t think it was ever missed, really, because it never ended up being as fun as my dad intended. Or it was just that I was 14, a freshman in high school and not interested in “playing” in my backyard anymore.
Just another fun contraption from my father the handy man!
January 25, 2010

>daddy memories #7 (Sunday’s post)

>Today I spent some time in our garage preparing for our move. I acquired several things that belonged to my father, but certainly not everything as he was a pack rat.

Today I sorted through his cedar chest that was packed full of my brother and my baseball/softball trophy’s, random jewelry and toys that have long since been forgotten about, and even the “labor and delivery instructions” and “how to care for baby” pamphlet from when my mom delivered my brother or I.
I also found our family’s china (fittingly, Copeland Spode). Some vintage hood ornaments. Old t-shirts of my dad’s. Locks of my brother and my hair, neatly placed in baggies and tagged. And our baby clothes, which we salvaged our first pairs of shoes and my mother promptly dressed Hadley in my Osh Kosh denim overalls.
Fortunately, my mother was there to help me determine what to keep and what to part with. I’m not a pack rat, but knowing that my father cherished these things was making me want to keep the 34 year-old locks of hair that is all dried up in a brown baggie.
So I parted with lots of things, comforted with the thought that I have so many great memories of my father that I didn’t necessarily need these tangible things to keep his memory alive. I put a “free” pile in front of our house and posted it on Craigslist. Of course I did not include the china or the brittle hair, but someone else found interest in my father’s treasures.
I’m sure, if he is up there watching me (because, really, who knows…) he was either saying “that’s valuable” or saying “let it go.” Something tells me, because that was just the kind of fella he was, it was the first comment.
But I feel freed from the stuff… Someone else is enjoying them because in my possession they would go to waste in a box in the garage, as they have for almost two years now. While I haven’t parted with all that was my father, and this certainly was never my intent, I have memories that I need to place into boxes and fill my garage of my own children. I think my father would ultimately agree, even though he was probably shaking his fist saying “THAT’S VALUABLE!”
January 23, 2010

>daddy memories #6

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The house I grew up in Whittier California was situated on almost an acre of land. The house was toward the front of the property and the backyard was a grove of various fruit and nut trees, black berries, a bee hive, sheds and of course the chicken house.
Yep, farm animals right there in the middle of a LA suburb.
Chickens were not the only creatures my father would bring around. Rabbits, turkeys, dogs and cats also grazed our pastures. But these were not the best of the bunch…
One day, while my mom was at work, my dad brought home a goat. A goat! Clarence the goat. Clarence was the typical goat. Running a muck. Chewing everything in sight. My dad even concocted a harness that hooked to our wagon and he dragged us around the yard (poor goat).
My mother was not happy with this new member of our family, but my brother and I were smitten. However, Clarence’s stay was short lived when my mom came home from work, found that he had chewed his way threw the screen door on our backdoor and found him standing on our kitchen table.
I don’t know where Clarence went. But there isn’t a whole lot of time that passes that we don’t talk about the goat incident.
January 22, 2010

>daddy memories #5

>Another one of my dad’s fun concoctions was the pulley system in our tree. He tied a pulley at the top of our front yards very large trees (I don’t know what kind they were) and put a rope through it that reached a foot or so above the ground. At the end of each side of the rope, he looped motorcycle straps to make seats.

My brother and I would sit on each side and jump up and down. Or one of us would walk back to lift the other really high off the ground, then let go and we’d go flying up and down.
All was well and good until my brother’s buddy came over and didn’t follow the safety precautions, falling and breaking his arm. No more pulley after that incident.
January 21, 2010

>daddy memories #4

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When it was time for he and my mom to replace their water bed mattress, he didn’t throw away the old deflated one like a normal person would. Oh no. Since it wasn’t leaky, he blew the mattress up with our air compressor (yes, we had a massive air compressor in our garage). It turned into this huge, almost diamond shaped thing. He put it in our front yard, had one of us sit on one end and he would run and jump on the other. We would go flying. It’s amazing we never broke anything. But we were entertained for hours.
January 21, 2010

>daddy memories #3 (a little late)

>My dad was a wannabe mountain man. Well, he did just fine in the elements, but if the option was there, and the weather turned, he’d happily move his camp to a nearby hotel.

I remember one Spring, or late Fall, not sure which, he took my brother and I up to the mountains for a camping trip. It was COLD. I think there were still patches of snow on the ground.
Anyway, we set up camp. Lit a campfire. Received “survival” instruction from my father, including how to heat rocks next to the campfire to put under your feet (of course under the sleeping bag) to keep warm. We were all sharing a tent and I was placed in between my brother and father so I’d be safe and warm (I guess because I was a girl).
So I was nice and snuggly with my heated rocks under my feet and the warmth of my brother and dad on either side of me. I think my brother was doing pretty well too. Just as I was dozing off my dad’s voice booms “We’re going to a hotel.”
And off we went… Packed up the tent, sleeping bags and other items we brought in. Loaded up the 1975 yellow Ford Van and off we went. But we didn’t just go to a Motel 6. Oh no… We went to a nice hotel.
I must say, though, we slept much better there. And the shower was lovely.
But I did learn how to heat rocks by the campfire to make little mini heaters.
Miss you so much, Dad!
January 20, 2010

>singin’ in the rain

>Daddy and Hadley playing in the rain during a tornado warning.

January 20, 2010

>daddy memories #2

>When my brother and I were 10 and 12ish, my dad decided that it would be “cool” for us to take up unicycling. Our local community center offered classes and somehow he talked the only kids in our neighborhood to partake.

So we learned how to balance on one wheel and circle a local park, like a bunch of geeks.
Oh, did I mention that we rode in our city’s holiday parade?
Yep, all my dad’s idea. He loved it. My brother actually got his unicycle from my dad a couple of years a go and has made it as “cool” as it can be among his skateboarding/musician buddies.
I can no longer ride…
Thank goodness.
Unfortunately, there are incriminating photos and probably some VHS floating around in the things I salvaged from his home.