Thank You, Daddy

It wasn't an event that affected my future and what has become my writing career.  It was a person.

My dad was one of the wisest and kindest people I've ever known, in spite of having only a 7th grade education.  When he was ten years old (in 1920), his father died, and he stepped up to help his mother and younger brother by working odd jobs.  Over a lifetime his work involved selling magazines door to door, as an usher at the Orpheum Theater (where he met and obtained autographs from many famous people), as a soda jerk, and other jobs.  Later on he worked at Fox-Vliet Drug Company and at Boeing Aircraft, where he was a supervisor in the purchasing department and retired after almost 25 years.  Not bad for a man who never attended high school, much less college!  And throughout working all those jobs, he read.

While on vacations that took us through 48 states, my souvenirs were always books, usually Little Golden Books.  I even have a book we bought in Havana, Cuba, when I was three.  Before I was able to make out the letters and words, my dad would read to me.  But even that wasn't always enough, and I'd read them by the light of my nightlight. It's no wonder I wore glasses by the time I was six!

National Geographic Magazine was a favorite source of reading to my dad.  He liked to keep up with what was going on in the world...and in space.  Being a part of Boeing meant being a part of building rockets to the moon, and his interest turned to the stars.  The wonderful thing was that he never pushed the knowledge reading gave him on anyone, but if asked, he always had an educated answer.  He never limited his interests or his reading to one or two things, and he continued to read and learn until his death at the age of 76 in 1987.

There's no way I could ever be able to thank my dad for the gift of reading he gave me.  If it hadn't been for all the time he spent reading to me and the quiet encouragement he always gave, I wouldn't be here sharing this today.  He was gone before I began to write seriously.  But I know that he's watching over me, smiling and proud.  Thank you, Daddy, for the gift of reading, because without it, I never would have written.

10 comments:

Pat Davids said...

Rox,
What a wonderful tribute to your father. What a luck child you were to have him in your life.

Savannah Rose said...

Very touching Parents may never really understand how special it is to have memories of them reading to us as children. Sounds like your dad was a very special person and I'm sure he continues to be very special in your heart.

Reese Mobley said...

Roxann, my folks were avid readers too. I read to my kids and now my daughter reads to her son. It's a tradition that I hope never dies. Thanks for sharing these special memories.

Rox Delaney said...

Pat, yes, I was lucky. Even when I was young I was aware of it. :)

Rox Delaney said...

Thanks for stopping by, Savannah! I've always thought of books as my friends and passed that on to my own kids. There's nothing like a good book to make a heart and mind soar. :) My dad will always be someone special to me. I wish everyone could have had one as generous of his time and love as he was. :)

Rox Delaney said...

Reese, I read to my kids as well. Although they all read quite a lot now, my oldest has always been the one to read constantly. She inhales books and has very eclectic tastes. I often wonder if that's because my dad used to read to her nearly every day.

You're right that reading to our children is a tradition to be cherished.

Joan Vincent said...

Reading was a gift from my father too. He also only had a grade school education--6th grade I believe, but was a voracious reader and we always had magazines, books and newspapers in the house. We grew up reading. Your books are a tribute to your father--they encourage reading too.

Rox Delaney said...

Joan, I like that dads were reading to their children. Hopefully even more do now.

My mom had a high school education, but she didn't really start reading until much later in life. She often told me that she hadn't liked reading when she was young, because she was a slow reader. I suppose it's possible she may have had some kind of reading problem and finally overcame much of it.

Nina Sipes said...

Rox,
Fathers are wonderful when the reading time comes along. My husband's dad read to him when he was tiny and it has meant so much to him as that was a time of accord for both of them followed by years of discord as sometimes sons and fathers have. But my husband remembered that time so favorably that his father was still his favorite parent. Then, when it came time for ours, Ron was so tired, that I read to our girls while he laid across the bed. We would quit every night when dad was put to sleep. The girls still smile over those memories. We were reading novels as I can only take so much Tawny Scrawny Lion.

Starla Kaye said...

I agree with Pat, this is a wonderful tribute to your father. My father, too, was an avid reader and worked for Boeing somewhere in his aircraft career. He always saw the "what-ifs" in things he read or things he saw. He passed that on to me.