My dad was born in Kentucky and was 25 years old in 1945 when he was hired on at the then called, David Taylor Model Basin. He took me there once before kid-to-work-day was fashionable, and showed me the huge tank used to test model ships for the Navy. I thought it was spectacular.
Dad taught me to look broadly at the world and he made it a point to spend time with me on a regular basis. On frequent trips to the museums in Washington, D.C. he would say to me as we entered, “Go wherever you want,” and he would follow me around, letting my curiosity guide us.
He took me fishing. Once. That story ended with me giving away our bountiful catch to the people fishing next to us.
I owe my love of photography to my dad. He bought everything needed to develop pictures at home and I monopolized our only bathroom developing my black and white photos.
I watched as he struggled to care for my mom as she suffered the agonies of mental illness. Such a confusing, conflicted time when it must have been tempting to cut and run. But he didn’t. He was a reliable presence in my life. After I left home and his children no longer required anything from him he stayed with mom, as difficult as she was to live with. He sheltered and supported her until she died in the home they shared.
Of course he wasn’t perfect. Mistakes were made and apologies for them came as his own death confronted him. But I will always be deeply grateful for the balance, stability and assurance that adulthood would be attainable when I was ready to get off the teeter-toter of childhood.