Posted tagged ‘family’

A Father’s Day Story

June 18, 2017

buddyWhen my Dad got out of the service, we moved to small apartment on the Boulevard in New Haven, Connecticut.   As I recall, it was a refurbished Army barracks.  My mom told me that when the wind blew, you could feel it through the walls.  I am fortunate to have some pictures of our years there but my memories of the Boulevard are sparse and dimly lighted.   I do remember them as good times.   There were tons of kids to play with, my parents had lots of friends (many of whom they kept touch with through most of their lives) and there was lots of space to play baseball or tag on the apartment grounds, even if it was mostly dirt.   What more could a kid ask for?

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Old Softies

June 16, 2017

bud and dadTwice a week, I find myself in rooms with many men who grew up with difficult, even abusive fathers, men who say things like, I know my father loved me, even if he couldn’t show it.   I am fortunate to have had a father who made it clear that he loved me, more often by his actions than his words.  Was he difficult?  Not by the standards of my friends in those rooms.  Still, he could be a strict disciplinarian with a quick hand (as was the nature of discipline back then) and he had a tendency to push me toward being better by pointing out the things I didn’t do well instead of my successes (also more common back then).  He was a man of few words.  My uncle once said to me, Your Dad doesn’t have much to say but when he does, he sure knows what he’s talking about.   Dad wasn’t given to emotional or philosophical discussions … that was the province of my Mom.  No one ever called my Dad a Softie and if they had, he’d likely have considered it insulting. (more…)

Maui at Seventy Three

May 21, 2017

Since my wife Muri and I moved to California in 1971, we have vacationed in Maui 7 times.  The first time we were here with our good friends, Don and Jackie, we spent half the time on Oahu and half the time at Napili Bay (perhaps the prettiest bay on Maui).   The second time, we brought our two children and spent time on both Maui and Kauai.   While Kauai is beautiful and less 

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Life … in Session

April 25, 2017

thermoThe first time I heard the saying, Life is in Session, was about 24 years ago in a 12-Step meeting for families and friends of alcoholics.   Someone was going through a crisis and after they shared about it, they closed with, I guess life is just in session.   I’ve probably heard the phrase thousands of times since then and it has never been used in reference to a pleasant or exciting event in life.   It has always been associated with a difficult stretch of time, probably because families and friends of alcoholics seem to have more than their share of those.   It is not so much a complaint as an acceptance that life is not always easy and that we are probably best off trying to learn something from what we are going through instead of just complaining.  The notion that life is a classroom offering lessons we are intended to learn appeals to me philosophically … it even fits with what my Mom taught me about life … that it’s for growing.   As somewhat of a lifelong student, it’s a notion that helps keep me going if I can see the value of the lessons I’m learning.   But I’ve never done well in required course if I can’t see their purpose. (more…)

Enclave

March 30, 2017

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I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties.  That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder.   Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found.  However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward.   A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way.  To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving.  He is still our son and still on our minds. (more…)

Missing

September 7, 2016

cardLast week, I was working in the park, as I often do when I want to especially enjoy the benefits of being self-employed.   There is a picnic bench right next to the lake under the shade of a spruce tree that makes a delightful office.   I was getting my laptop out of its travel bag when a card fell out of the side compartment onto the table.   As soon as I noticed the two kittens climbing a Christmas tree on the front, I knew what it was … it was a Christmas card from my friend, Stan, from the winter before he passed away from pneumonia.  I opened it and read: (more…)

Throwback Thursday – Decades

July 7, 2016

claendarIt has been 3 weeks since I’ve posted.  Does anyone care?  Yes. I do.  My life feels fuller when I post.   But it is an unfortunate characteristic of my personality (what 12-Steppers would call a Defect of Character) that I don’t always do what is good for me.   In the interest of making this a better day … and at the risk of feeling like a social media trend follower … I thought I’d do a Throwback Thursday post with a picture of me from each decade of my life.  It was not as easy as I thought.  In my first two decades, the 40s and 50s, I was so darn cute it was hard to choose one photo.   And beyond the 50s, as the primary photographer in the family, I don’t appear in most of the photos on my computer.  But I was determined.   Is it a bit narcissistic to post pictures of yourself?   Sure, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do to post.  Here are seven decades of Older Eyes: (more…)