Saturday, April 1, 2017

Remembering my dad -- "Pop!".

I grew up in a small (18,000) town in central Pennsylvania from 1941 to 1959. It is about 18 miles west of the state capitol, Harrisburg. Carlisle was a nice little town. You could walk or ride your bike to any point in town and most people either knew you or your parents. My mom died when I was four. My brother was 9 years older than me and my sister was 7 years older than me. Consequently, I spent a fair amount of time with my dad who was a physicist and veracious reader. I remember going to the state library in Harrisburg at least once a month so that my dad could check out books. On a lot of those trips I waited in the car for him and on other days, if there was an interesting exhibit in the library, he would let me wonder around the exhibit and meet him at a specified location at a designated time.

Those were interesting times. I don't remember my dad giving me specific instructions  not to speak to strangers, but I never did. Although I can't remember specifically, I don't think my dad was ever very far away. The exhibits were always very interesting and always had something to do with Pennsylvania -- e.g., native Americans, coal mining, farming, schools, communities, etc. One of the things I remember from sitting in  the car is that every now and then I would see men in their dirty work clothes and I always said to myself, "I don't know what I am going to do when I grow up but I know it won't be a dirty job." It is funny how things like that stick with you.

When we would drive to Harrisburg from Carlisle and vice versa, we would play games. One of them was that my dad would name a state capitol or a state and I would name the corresponding state or state capitol. Another game we would play was that my dad would name the school and I would name their nickname or mascot -- like he would say Army and I would say Black Knights of the Hudson! One day he said Army and for some reason I said Black Knights of the Potomac. We both laughed and laughed about that one. . One other game we played was to name a city or town and the other person would have to name a town or city where the first letter of the name was the last letter of the city or town that was just named. We had a grand ole time.

My dad has been gone since 1962 but I still remember him fondly and vividly. He was a good man.

No comments: