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Memories of my Father 1

December 15, 2018

My father died in October of this year.  He was born in 1919.  He grew up in the 30s and 40s.  He married my mother in 1941.  During the war, he was a flight instructor for the RCAF.  He flew the Tiger Moth, the Harvard, the AVRO Ansen, and the Cessna Crane.  He trained pilots and air crew who went over to England to fly Spitfires and Lancasters in combat.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s.  My father was a travelling salesman then.  He sold novelties like keychains to gas stations and restaurants.  Later, he sold curling brooms.  At the time, curling brooms were made with real broom corn.  He was away much of the time, on the road.  My mother, my aunt, and my grandparents were the people I knew best.

My earliest memories of my father are fragmentary.  Sometimes, I don’t know exactly when they happened.  I know that he was not a good carpenter.  He drove screws with a hammer, finishing with a screwdriver.  He never drilled a pilot hole.  To him, when a nail caused the wood to split, that was just how things worked.  I knew better.

My father was an authority figure all of his life.  Still, he was a kind man.  I do recall being sent into the bathroom to be punished.  I recall the spanking that followed.  I don’t recall what I did that was wrong.

My father was a lifelong hockey fan.  I recall a junior hockey game where he was timekeeper.  I climbed all over the bleachers.  That was fun.  I paid no attention to the game.  That was the only time my father took me to a hockey game.

Later, he was a used car salesman for a local dealership.  He used to keep track of all of his customers.  That way, he would always know what kind of car the customers liked, and when they were ready for a newer one.  One day, he was taking a car to some people who lived out of town, on a farm.  He brought me along for company.  He left me in the car while he was inside talking to them.  When he came out, he announced that we were changing plates.  It was another successful sale.

He sold new cars too.  He always drove one as a demonstrator.  Often, he would take me and my brother, with several neighborhood kids, down to the ice cream drive-in.  As he was handing out the ice cream, he warned us not to drop any on the seats.  Inevitably, one of the kids would burst out crying.  That meant that the ice cream had fallen out of the cone onto the seat.  My father would clean it up as best he could.  He forgave the neighborhood kids for their accident.  I was big enough that I didn’t drop my ice cream.


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