Got your attention, didn't I!! I hope so!
Okay, let me set the scene. We're in a black and gray and dusty train yard. Nothing going on..just some old trains that probably haven't moved for years. Now we're on a dirt road, no lights, no houses, just a dark dirt road. We're not at disneyworld or disneyland. We just passed the road to our house, Ashwood, in Avon Lake, OH., but it's okay...now we're hitchhiking at the top of our own road, waiting for a ride. Wait...all of a sudden there's a big snow storm and we're in a cool snow fort, where no harm can come to us when we start our snowball fight!
What's going on! Where are we you ask?
I've just taken a few pages out of my childhood; and this is my little way to thank my Dad for taking a dark, dismal, neglected train yard...and making it into a memory.
Did I go to Disneyland or Disneyworld when I was a kid? Nope!! Was I ever sad that I didn't go to these places? Nope! Did I wish I had more money and more stuff when I was a kid? No--the thought never entered my mind (unless it had to do with Barbies!).
I am just as guilty as most parents these days!! My kids have a lot of stuff! But it's not the "stuff" that I think they'll really remember. It's you...and what you do with your kids, that they'll remember!
Like snow forts...My Dad was THE BEST snow fort maker..don't even try to compete, he was the best and I'm sure of it!
Or..how about Christmas Eve.. a very snow Christmas Eve! You've got 4 very anxious children (and one baby)..what would you do? take them on a snow walk through the neighborhood, of course..(smart guy..try to get us tired!).
So...you have the kids in the car and you suddenly pass the street you live on..."hey, Dad..you just passed our street!" That's fun!
Hitchhiking...yep! we did that just about everynight! At the end of our street, waiting for Dad to come home from work and pick us up! (and he always did! thankgoodness).
So, when you're feeling bad because you don't have much to give to your kids, think again! There are only a few material things I remember from my childhood. My fondest memories are the times...the what (might appear to be boring) moments...like a ship yard or just a drive to the only McDonalds in the entire county! That's what will stay in their minds!
So thanks, Dad! and by the way...if you want to truly learn about a true salesman! I could go on and on about my Dad in that department too! My Dad was an actuary before anyone knew what an actuary was! My Dad had five children to support when he was given an ultimatum...sign a contract -a non-compete contract (the modern term)...so....did he do it, you wonder!!? Nope!! He did not!! He quit!! With 5 kids at home, at yep-I decided, about that time..that it would be fun to get married, after all, it was a big bicentennial year...1976!! and it was a big wedding! Do I remember any complaining?? No, I do not!
My Dad had no office, he had no employees. I guess you would just say he had a lot of confidence! He peddled himself!! He made phone calls from a place called The Cleveland Athletic Club..he had a great (and gorgeous) secretary named Mona (my Mom!). Guess what!! It worked!
He turned his peddling into a company!! First called JRParsons, Inc. Then called Parsons & Mckee, Inc (or something like that!)....which, in turn, was named Parsons, Mckee, Sommers & Co.! Long story short, it was bought by an invsestment company years later and then by The Standard.
My point is..well, I have a few points! First and foremost...you don't need money to be a good parent! Second, but still very important.....do NOT give up!! Take it from my Dad! he's 70-something (I'm serious, I don't know his exact age, because I don't think it mattters)..he is still doing actuarial consulting! Do not give up! If you give up...well, then...you give up and that's it! If my Dad can be a Dad with 5 kids-a family to support and do it...then you can do it!
Thanks Dad--thanks so much for the memories..We were by no means poor, but we were by no means rich...at least monetarily speaking!
But, did I feel rich!? Yes? I felt rich and when I think back...I know how lucky I was! and still am!
Thank you -and Happy Birthday--whatever your age!!
I appreciate the wonderful memories I have!
Your oldest daughter,