I have been having some problems with this site so here is a late tribute to a father who also had to be my mother. This picture was taken in Aug. 1984 at our church in Ohio. You can't tell but this 15 year old was madder than a hornet! I don't remember why but I do regret it whatever it was! It is a good thing God forgives us, huh? I need it when I look at this photo.
I haven't said much about my dad but he and I were really close before and after mom died. Did he do everything right? Nope. Name one parent that has. It was very hard for him from the beginning. He was an "out of wedlock" child from the 1920's (unheard of then and certainly you were scorned for that behavior!). He was enlisted into WWII and for that I am so very proud of him. He served in Goose Bay, Laborador in the Army Air corp. He could have served in the next city over and I would have been so proud. He took 5 years to get through high school but he made it! He always said he goofed off and had fun before he took any schoolwork seriously. He married in the late 40's (47 or 49?) to Joanne and they had two children in 1950 and 1951. Cheryl and David respectively. Joanne left him for a physician intern and she took the two kids to Cuba where the doc was from. He still paid child support for them even as they were out of the country and being pulled away from their father. He deeply loved his children and all children. He could go down to their level they just thought he was the funniest! He remarried in 1967 to my mother and of course I was born in 1969. He attempted to keep in contact with his children but they wanted nothing to do with him and are still that way to this day. I have a message for you Cheryl and David: YOU MISSED OUT ON A MAN WHO WENT TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH TO LOVE AND PROVIDE AND FIND YOU! My dad then went through the tragedy of losing his second wife to a tragic accident in 1980 and having a ten year old to raise alone. He always felt guilty for being behind the wheel that day as we drove to the bank. One day, as an adult, I told him that he was not responsible for my mother's death. I do not blame him and I didn't want him to blame himself anymore. (This is more painful to write than I thought it would be!) He missed his dear wife's funeral because he was in the hospital intensive care unit. I remember visiting him there after the funeral and he was just in the deepest physical and emotional pain I can recall. He said "It's gonna be okay kid, just you and I we have to stick together and we're going to make it" And from that day on, whenever I was troubled he would always say that we were going to stick together. And we did. He and I were lost that first year without mom. I can honestly say that! I attempted to cook and clean but I could never match her in that arena. She kept a sharp, neat house. We did erratic things that year too. Things that regular parents would shake their head at and wonder what the rationale was behind it. I don't understand it all at this age either but I do know that both of us were in incredible grief pain. Irrational things: taking me out of school for days on end so we could go on a trip to another state to see things we never saw before. Staying in a hotel in Covington, KY on the 17th floor on our way to a historic place. He made such a big deal about the fact that we could stay at the top and all the lights of the city shone in our room. Another: buying me every single animal on the shelf at a store at the mall. Stuffed animals. Like I needed more of those. But we did not adapt to this pain well, obviously we attempted to cover it and fill it with material things and esapist ways. I once saw a stuffed animal that was called a "Worry bird". I really did believe that a stuffed bird with big eyes could help me with all that I was worried about. I think that is why I have always had a strong faith. When others find ways to walk away from Jesus or fail to see that He is alive and has power to help us with so much, I cling. It has been the only hope that I have ever felt for all this pain. I can't explain the supernatural and some are turned off by dropping the "J" name but that's okay, I NEED it to not fall into depression or hopelessness. Okay, off the pulpit!
My dad thought he was doing the right thing on March 13, 1981 when he married Elaine Albright Lester. He was DEAD wrong. It was bad enough to have lost my mother but to have to deal with this woman and her children was deeply scarring. But that is not going to get wordage here in this blog. Not worth it. I wish her well and forgive her but I do not choose to give any time or energy to expounding on the past with her. They divorced in 1984. I lived with a youth pastor and his wife the summer of 84 to try and sort out my life. I was emotionally wrecked. Never an issue with drugs or alcohol to mask my pain. No...I just let it all hang out all the time. Not good either. Fall of 84 my dad and I got an apt together ( Elaine had helped herself to all the money my dad had and by their divorce we had no house either...not entirely her fault, I know my dad should have better protected us!). In short, I married young and I married opposite of my dad. My dad was passive and my husband is not. I love them both DEARLY. My dad passed away here in Michigan in Nov. 1996. It was a pain that I cannot describe. I loved my dad. I wanted to protect him from life. It should also have been the other way around. I know that. But it does not take away from the fact that he was my father. He did the best he knew how. He was a solider, a March of Dimes representitive in the 50's, a father to 3, an office guy, a maintainence worker at Oberlin college, a foster parent to Kenny (where are you?) in the 50's, a bastard child, a person who loved extravagantly, a Christian who grew deeper to God as time went on, a postive-the-glass-is-always-full person, a patient daddy, a fun grandpa, a husband to my mother, and a sweetheart to all who knew him.
This is for you daddy, I love you.