November 13th—it’s my Dad’s birthday today. How I wish I had a few hours to spend with him and learn who he really was. He’s been in heaven for many years now. When I was younger, he was my hero. I could run to his lap and get a hug. He was not an openly affectionate man; that was just his personality. But, he took care of all six of us on one income. He travelled all the time in his job. I never appreciated how hard it was for him to be away from home.
Dad’s father and mother escaped from Estonia before Russia invaded it. They landed near Boston, Massachusetts. Dad grew up in a home with stone and mud floors—I’ve only located one picture of him by his house. His mother died in a barn fire when he was only three. Later, the woman who moved in as a house keeper married my grandfather, but apparently from what I have been able to put together, it was a marriage of convenience at that time.
My Dad was proud to have been accepted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He started out to be an engineer. He was gifted in drawing and designing. WWII broke out, and he became an officer candidate in what was then the Armed Air Force. He served in military intelligence. Mom and Dad met at a Lawrence Welk dance at the Arragon Hotel in Chicago. It must have been instant love. They married while he was in training in Iowa, on an icy day in February 1943. It was the day he got his Lieutenant’s wings. (I always thought it was funny later that he could not remember his anniversary date.)
Dad stayed in the Air Force through the Korean Conflict. He retired as a Captain. Later, he became an inspector and insurance writer for a building casualty insurance company out of Boston. He rose to the top of his ranks in civilian life, too. Company meetings were always held in the New England area, and as children, he incorporated our vacations with his drives up there.
Dad grew the biggest tomato plants in the neighborhood. It always amazed me. Strawberries lined our fences. When he retired, his yard was mowed twice a week. The white fence was always in repair and painted. He joined the Golden Kiwanis group and among other civic jobs, helped Santa write letters back to young children.
Dad & Mom had three sons and one daughter. Out of that grew three granddaughters and four grandsons. He got to know we all married and started out great lives.
If you take one thing from this, please ask your Dad what his dreams were. Spend time just talking. And know that as important our Dads are in our lives, when they raise families in Christ, they are giving us the ultimate in Fathers.
Happy Birthday, Dad.