The Journey to the Woman I am Today.............Part II

"Be careful, Sister, it's slippery!"
"Be careful, Sister, it's slippery!"

"I'm a big girl now......."

My parents were both Catholic. My paternal grandparents, as a matter of fact were Orthodox Catholics directly from Austria, where they had fled with their families, to escape the insanity of a big bad man named "Adolf," who thought the Ukraine needed some cleansing.

The only Catholic Church was walking distance from our home at the corner of our street, We lived in a Catholic neighborhood, in a Catholic home, went to the Catholic School next to this church.......and I'm pretty sure our mother drove a Catholic car.

I was 5 years old and off to Kindergarten, away from the comfort and safety of my home, without a parent, for the first time. There was no such animal as a Nursery School in the 50's. As my mother liked to put it years later when Pat and I had children, "Nursery schools? Oh my God, when we were raising our kids, we didn't dump them with strangers." Pat and I would cringe at that statement, but knew it was the truth.

Kindergarten was also the first time I laid eyes on a Nun ( a little spooky music in the back ground please?) They were all called, "Sister Something," except my Dad called them "penguins," much to my mother's objection.

Yep, that was classic Dad. I could probably sum up my father in a sentence or two, but he deserves more......so buckle up.

Blue Collar Dad....Machinist/Welder
Blue Collar Dad....Machinist/Welder
Professional Musician..Alto & Tenor Sax
Professional Musician..Alto & Tenor Sax
U.S. Marine P.T. Instructor/gymnast
U.S. Marine P.T. Instructor/gymnast

My Dad's Better than your Dad.....

I have been racking my brain for the past two or three days, trying to come up with something that my Dad couldn't do. The simple, age-old title of "Jack of all Trades," doesn't even brush the surface.

Now you're thinking, "Oh, c'mon, here's a girl bragging about her father, like this is uncommon or special." BORING..zzzzzz.

You're entitled to feel this way. It's OK, really. But I'm still going to elaborate a bit. Just hang in here with me, please. I want you to know my Dad.

Loyal to one company, the majority of his employment history, my Dad, a.k.a. "Eddie," was a machinist... welder, to be specific, in a shop that manufactured parts for rockets, under government contract. This shop was a15-minute walk from home and that's what he did....he walked to and from work, every day, lunch bucket in hand.

To tell the truth, in our small village, it didn't matter where you were going. It was within walking distance. The longest trek, from one far side of town to the other side, might take about an hour. I said it was small, didn't I?

Eddie had talents and hobbies to-beat-the-band.....and speaking of..... A professional musician, he was a member of the Marine Corps Band while serving in the military. He was the Marine Base P.T. Instructor to his fellow Marines, as well.

In his civilian life, he played in a combo at various Clubs in the city. As the story goes, I think it was one night at a Dance Club, my Mom and Dad experienced their "Enchanted Evening....across a crowded room."

The best part for my sister and I was that he kept his talent and his prized sax in perfect tune, by practicing at home, a couple of evenings a week. We did our homework with live background music. Well OK, my sister the genius, did her homework. I had better things to do. Don't ask.

As we state at Brat's Anonymous..."Hello, my name is Paula, and I am a Brat. I've been pissing my parents off for years now.........."


Laugh, giggle and laugh some more
Laugh, giggle and laugh some more

The beautiful music of the Sax

More laughter than we could stand

When Daddy was not working, tinkering around the house with repairs or building something, he would watch TV or go fishing. You see, from day one, both of our parents worked.....Daddy, on day shift and Mom at night. My mother's brother and sister owned the most popular restaurant in the county and my mother ( the whole family, actually) worked there forever.

Working mothers back then, were very rare birds. Friend's of ours would wrinkle their noses and say, "Your Mom works?!" On the other hand, Pat and I had no clue most other Moms didn't.

This is just the way they did things. Our home never saw a babysitter, a repairman or neighbors sitting around chatting. Work and school and church and family. We were the family of Worker Bees. Trust me when I tell you that Mom was the Queen Bee.

Our Dad could be described as pensive, soft-spoken and even-tempered, the majority of the time. However, at all times, he was funny....funny as hell. Everything he said and did, included a dose of humor. It's a damned good thing that we humans are not granted only a specific amount of time and energy to use on laughter in one lifetime. We'd have hit the max at a very young age.

Eddie proudly walked my sister down the aisle, in 1964. It was my turn next, to take that walk with him in 1967.

By 1972, Pat had three children and I had two. One granddaughter and four grandsons, who were the absolute light of our father's life. He was a super-duper, hands-on Grandpa. He built them wagons and taught them to fish and do hand stands. He'd get right in there with them, looking like just another kid, but much bigger. The fun and giggles...love and laughter was non-stop for Grandpa and the little lights of his life.....

Until one day that year of 1972. Early, on the morning of August 4th,....Suddenly, the lights went out and the laughter ceased..... forever. In the blink of an eye,he was gone....only 56 years old.

In this cold, pitch darkness......the silence was deafening.

*****************************************************************************************************


Thank you for reading Part II of my story. In case you did not read Part I and would like to:

http://fpherj48.hubpages.com/hub/The-Journey-to-the-Woman-I-am-TodayTo-include-the-Good-the-Bad-the-Ugly-the-Beautiful

And now......Part III link below




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Comments 60 comments

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 7 months ago from Texas

That's true, but I meant it like how you said you and your sister had different perspectives. I didn't feel that way. Someone else seemed to think I should have.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 7 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Shan....I think every one can think back to their youth and take a new and different perspective on their family life. It does us a great deal of good to remember it all, the good & the bad as well. It helps to understand ourselves.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 7 months ago from Texas

My dad is even-tempered. I rarely recall him being angry. But if we got in trouble by him, we knew we'd screwed up! One time, someone accused him of playing favorites so that my.sister was favored more, but I never felt that way. Strange how people see things so differently.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Catholics aren't so bad as long as they're "recovering."


DJ Anderson 2 years ago

Paula, my dad died at age 56 or 57. I cannot find my book of dates.

He was in the hospital for a full physical. He got a clean bill of health and was to be released from the hospital the following morning. He died

from a massive heart attack during the night.

"Precious memories how they linger,

How they ever flood my soul.

In the stillness of the midnight.

Precious sacred scenes unfold." ~J. B. F. Wright~

Paula, this is an old gospel hymn that I grew up singing.

I was too young, at that time, to know how precious memories can be.

I had never even met a Catholic until I met my first husband.

You would think I would have learned my lesson, but noooo.

I turned right around and married another one!! LOL

DJ.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

As your own precious Dad, Linda. It certainly can ring so true at times that "Only the GOOD die young."


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Beautiful and bittersweet story...Eddie was gone much too young.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Well, of course the car was baptized. What sort of Catholic would not?


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"and I'm pretty sure our mother drove a Catholic car." - Haha!! Too funny! Did You baptize the car?

"when we were raising our kids, we didn't dump them with strangers!" - My parents tried it with me but I made such ruckus that I only attended one day in kinder-garden and after that, I was not forced to give school a try again, until I was seven years old and I went to grade one.

Interesting read. I am finding myself devouring through the lines ... off to part three. : )

Cheers!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Maria.....Don't tell your sister please...but I have been a Recovering Catholic for at least 30 years. This solid and sassy butt of mine, sits in no pew. My Spiritual life is one of privacy between the Big Guy and me.

Had I decided to drag this Journey out, Maria, there would have been Part X.....but I trimmed it down considerably for sanity's sake.

I'm pleased you are reading and boring into my soul.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Paula,

OMG, 'please sit down', my one and only sister IS a penguin. So, I guess you could say we were raised 'fairly Catholic' as well... My Daddy, however, was in the Navy.

Oh darling, I am captivated in learning what makes you the solid and sassy citizen you are today. I will not 'hang on your lips' as my SA Sista is doing... but I feel as though I am unpeeling a fragrant onion slowly, crying as I read....


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thank you bac2....believe it or not...it gets worse. Thank you for your sweet compassion.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Oh Effer..what a sad and tragic end to this wonderful tribute to your dad. My wonderful husband was a professional musician too, and his life ended far too soon, he was only 59 when I lost him to cancer. At least I saw it coming though, doesn´t make losing him any the easier, but sudden death, like your Dad´s must be so shocking. I am so sorry for your loss.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Vee...Honey....I swear...we are all "recovering" from one thing or another....and some of us from numerous things......All that matters is that we keep up the pace!!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

That's funny, Effer. I have called myself a "recovering Baptist" many times. LOL. :-)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

You will write 100 times, "I will never refer to Effer as a "Catholic," ever again!".........I am a recovering Catholic.......Thanks Rutley


rutley profile image

rutley 4 years ago from South Jersey

Oh how life goes on! I'll have a 6th grandchild this fall and I just turned 50. Oh, and thanks for always answering my cornball questions. What? You don't remember the word cornball? I think you might. Your sense of humor is much like mine...I can just tell....maybe it's because we're Catholic? No, probably because we like to cut on people in a nice way that is!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Susan.....thanks for coming back to say more....although, honestly my comment wasn't meant as a direct response to yours.....I was really just venting on the subject at hand.....You and I are just two of many who have arrived at the place of spirituality we embrace. It's comfortable and it works!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Paula, I suppose I shouldn't have left my comment the way I did. So I'll go ahead and explain. My father for various reasons stopped attending church at a point in his life. He felt that he didn't need an organized religion and pretty much told me to go to church if I wanted to explore different religions if I wanted,and if I didn't want to that was fine too. He was a religious and spiritual person. I had to smile when I saw your reply back to me as I feel the same way that you do : )

Have a great day.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

You're very welcome. I love those walks too. Take them as often as possible...with the "oldies" blaring in the background......You almost feel transported to somewhere else.....at another time....with a whole different attitude......don't you? Happens to me.


TheLastBabyBoomer profile image

TheLastBabyBoomer 4 years ago from Surprise Arizona

Dear Paula,

It truly was a wonderful life wasn't it? I am sitting here picturing your neighborhood; much like mine was I’m sure. It brought back the old days when we used to walk everywhere. When you could hang out with your cousins and Dads carried those big metal lunch boxes with the thermos in the lid. LOL my dad wasn’t the lunch box type, but I still remember Uncle Frank leaving for his job at the railroad. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

It's a natural response for us to relate our life and family to that of our fellow human beings. Truth is, we are much more in sync than we are apart from one another......which brings us what we hope this world will one day understand...and stop all the hatred and violence.......When we hurt others, we simply hurt ourselves. Thanks, Coge


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Wow part two was just as wonderful as part one....I could not help but think of my father and mother when reading this hub....sorry August 4th is a sad day for you....here in the Cogerson family that is the birthday of my almost 6 year old.....keep up the good work see you in part three very soon.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Susan.......Sometimes we can learn valuable lessons of what NOT to do....as in force any particular organized religion or MAN-fabricated beliefs upon children who have no choice and no voice of their own.

Belief in a Spiritual Life, morals and values can be taught without wearing a Label, memorizing a load of bullsh++ and putting your money in a basket. At least, that's what I firmly adhere to.

Thanks for the visit


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

So sorry that you lost your dad when he was so young.

I wasn't raised raised Catholic but my dad was Anglican. Anyway I'll be reading part three shortly.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Nell......How do you like that? I like it fine.....it's almost too similar to ignore! My Mom had a sense of humor, but mostly she did the laughing rather than causing the laughter.....and if she happened to stop laughing, we all started running!

So glad you could go back in time with me.......your Dad was a welder for aircraft???....too spooky, hon!!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, this was so close to how my dad and my family were. In fact as I was reading it could really have been me, apart from the Catholic upbringing. My mum worked, the same as my dad, and he was also very very funny, mind you so was my mum! but my dads job was similar too, only he worked on aircraft parts as a welder. we didn't have babysitters either or playgroup, somehow we all managed. your family sounds and sounded wonderful, I am so sorry about your loss of your dad so early, nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Vinaya...Yes, I was raised by a good and faithful family and I will forever be grateful for their love and support. We are shaped by everyone in our life, in some way or another. Thank you. Peace.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

You were raised amongst the believers, and you father must really be a wonderful man.

Great piece of writing, looking forward to read the another installment.

Regards


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Ruchira....Yes, we can never know wheat fate has in store for any of us. So, it is vital to our happiness, to always be kind and generous while our loved ones are with us. Thank you, Ruchira.

Vee....We 're all shaped in many ways by our experiences on the journey....the people we love and even those who leave a negative impact. It's a gift to learn how to sift through the rubble.....and know what to leave behind......

Note:...Catholic cars are pretty economical. They run on Holy water.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

OH, my gosh. You build it up and then leave us hanging. I know this is a true story, but your writing skills come through as well as you keep us hanging on every word. OH, to lose your dad at age 56. How sad and awful. How the laughter stopped. I'm looking forward to part III to see what else shaped you into the wonderful person that you are.

I voted this up and all the way across. You even scored a "funny" for the Catholic car comment. :-)


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

wow...56 is too young to pass away. I am glad you had children and he got to play a role as a grand dad. I liked how you described your dad and his expertise's.

going on to Part III :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jaye....I always LOVE your visits. You are so great for my spirit Girlfriend! Thank you. I'm thrilled you liked my story. Yes, that was my Dad, exactly as I presented him....all 5'6" and 135lbs of mostly muscle...I know it sounds trite, but on my word of honor, in my entire life, I have never encountered a single person who didn't love him to pieces.

56 is "young" by anyone's standards....gosh, that's just getting started with the best part of your life.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

Paula...In spite of your "strict Catholic wardrobe", your childhood seems idyllic to me. It's tragic your dad died so young (from my vantage point and today's life expectancy, 56 is young indeed), but what wonderful memories you have of him: a dedicated family man, good provider, great sense of humor and...wonder of all wonders to me...he played the sax and you got to hear him practice at home!

I enjoyed reading this episode very much, even though the ending was so sad it made me catch my breath. Beautiful writing, Girl. Glad I missed Part II when you first published it, as I can now go straight from here to Part III.

Jaye


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I'd like to believe I was, GF...and I'm pretty sure my Dad thought so........They left much too soon, Sunshine,,,way too young.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

How ironic that you published this tribute to your dad the day before the 29th anniversary of my dads passing. June 8, 1983...only 51. You are full of surprises Effer J. We are still keeping their memories alive after all these years. We are awesome daughters. Don't you agree?:)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

writer 20....Glad you're enjoying this. Thanks & keep smiling


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great read waiting for more,Joyce


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Still reading. Keep it coming.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Oh my dear St. Paula! Again we travelled the same roads. I didn't have a working Mom but geeze the rest could have been my life. Yes, Catholic School...my aunt was a nun though and I KNEW nuns. We had Catholic everything too...I'm sure a car can be Catholic ;)AND I walked to school.

As for your Dad...I cried for your Dad and for mine. Such a loss to the world and your writing as always, so beautiful and moving.

Voted up, funny, beautiful, awesome, interesting and a lovely hub only a great GF could write! Such a warm and enjoyable read.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Glad you had a great relationship with your dad. It must have been a great glow when he died at such a young age. Your personal story was enjoyable. We lived in different times back then, my mother also worked and it was a rarity.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Vinaya....I search for inspiration and embrace it when it comes to or crosses my path. We all need to allow the words and actions of those with love and wisdom to share, come to us and build our strength. Thank you!


yssubramanyam profile image

yssubramanyam 4 years ago from india, nellore. andhrapradesh

very good articulation. i love this hub.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

bill...breathe deep, my friend....for there is another "date" to be told....that will jump out and grab your throat as it did mine, when I saw it printed in your hub about your Dad....Oh how the webs of every life will tend to weave in and out of other's lives.....


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Boomer.....My hope was for my readers to recognize themselves and their own lives in some way to some degree....and be able to relate, remenisce and deal with any repercussions which may be obstructing the freedom to find meaning to it all.

It appears, thus far, my hope is becoming reality.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Yes, we are sisters from different misters and I also have young childhood trauma related to my dad though it's much different than your own experience.

Another spooky thing- I actually thought of Billybuc when I first read this chapter because of his previous hub about his Dad, and here I see he just wrote a comment regarding his strong reaction to what you wrote and the similarities in his own life!!!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I swear to God...strangest thing....at the end, when you wrote about the last day...1972...the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I got tears in my eyes...that's how it was for me in 1969 when my support system and the funniest man I have ever known...just dropped dead. Wow, Paula...that was just weird. Time to go outside for a breather.

Oh, well done...beautiful...what a fun house to live in.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

boomer....you are blowing my mind....A blue collar Dad whose heart belonged to music.....played SAX and died at 56? I need to come out of my stunned position! Talk about sisters from different Misters!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

It is good to read the personal story of a writer, I have been reading on HubPages. Your life brims with inspirations.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Love the way this one single line about nuns perfectly displayed you father's sense of humor: "They were all called, "Sister Something," except my Dad called them "penguins," much to my mother's objection."

This chapter of your memoir held my interest all the way through and the pace of it was wonderful, giving the last paragraph a gut wrenching, unexpected punch.

Again, you've written in such a way that many will be able to relate. I can still remember having the, "My Dad's better (in my case, stronger) than yours" discussion with a 4 year old girlfriend. I told her quite emphatically that "My Dad could lift this whole house up with his hands...if he wanted to!"

He also played sax and I still love sax instrumentals which always remind me of the best part of him for he was a frustrated construction worker whose heart belonged to music. He died on his 56th birthday when my son was 4 years old.

Enjoyed this hub. Voted up across the board and I look forward to reading more.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Dexter.....Here at HubLand, I don't believe we can deny the profound similarities.....the rest of world needs to catch up to us. The key seems to be....sharing our life stories and discovering the numerous connections and endless possibilities to embrace one another.

When nothing but the printed word, creates the path into the individual, our focus cannot be obstructed with bias of any prejudice.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Hi Fpher! It is amazing how we can see parts of our lives through others'. If we all would just focus on our similarities than differences.

In any event, I am really impacted by your family. I am so looking forward to the subsequent parts. Thanks for sharing this with us!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Pamela....In my heart and mind....you are absolutely correct. Your father is closely connected to you, today, just as he always was.....without his physical being. His spirit lives within you.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

This is a beautiful tribute to your father, and we always miss them when they have passed away. My father died 10 years ago, but his last few years were plagued with illness, yet I feel like he is still close to me sometimes. This is a beautiful hub.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Well, Martie.....I could simply repeat my comment to yours in Part I......Thank you for the compliment. Coming from you makes it so very special.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Oh my gosh, we have so much in common, Paula - were the exact words in my mind BEFORE I read Daughter's comment. I love your style of writing - your sense of humor is delightful.

I am hanging on your lips!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

yssubramanyam.....I am pleased to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed my story. Thank you so much. Peace


yssubramanyam profile image

yssubramanyam 4 years ago from india, nellore. andhrapradesh

i too love my father. like minded hub. happy feelings.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Daughter....How sweet you are. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my story.....Yes, we do have a bit in common!!

Part III within a week........ Peace!


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Oh my gosh, we have a bit in common! My dad was an electrician and a welder, and I grew up catholic as well. I didn't read the first part, but I'm going to now. When's part III due? lol Great hub, I enjoyed reading about your father, and I'm sure he'd be proud.

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