Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

News hasn't been good here recently, and I intend to blog about that soonish.

But, today, I need to remember someone else.

68 years ago today, my father was born. He was born prematurely on the family farm in North Kennebunkport, Maine (which later split from Kennebunkport and renamed itself Arundel), the 10th of 12 children. Medical care being what it was then and there, they used the oven as an incubator to keep him warm.

He grew up, worked on the farm, and trained as a machinist in the local high school's vo-tech program. He worked as a machinist for a few years in southern Maine until one night when he got a ride with his next-older brother's wife and met her coworker, a young lady who'd just graduated from high school in California and then moved to Maine with her mother.

They got married a few months later, and moved back to California together. Two days after their first anniversary, they had a daughter; they tried to have another child for several years, but it didn't happen quickly; I was conceived on or around my father's thirtieth birthday, almost 7 years into the marriage.

My father wanted out of California by then; they looked into Seattle, but Boeing laid off a bunch of machinists, so they decided to go back to Maine.

The sudden pressures of being near both their families caused stress in the marriage, as did financial issues, and about 10 years after moving back, a divorce finalized the split.

He lived the bachelor life for a while, with temporary duty assignments (he worked as a civilian machinist for the Navy) around the world. After several years of this, he had the opportunity to do a long-term relocation to Guam; he took it and reveled in it.

He never moved back; a heart attack killed him in February 1996, a month before he was to retire.

And so, today, despite everything else going on in my life today, I remember the man who gave me his name. Happy birthday, Dad.

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