Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

So, okay it's father's day. I can't say that my Dad and I had a great relationship. Distant is a good word. Well, maybe more like detached. Whatever. It's a long story. But here's what I can tell you to get the flavor of it.

I was in my 30's and living in Boston when I took up gardening. My great grand father (i.e. my grandmother's father) had been a farmer and had done quite well for himself. He developed a really nice pole Lima bean I'd love to taste again. He had eventually retired from farming and moved into town. He bought a place just two houses down on Allen Street. I wonder if that's how my grandfather met Nana? He had a large backyard where he grew vegetables. At any rate, my Dad once asked me how it was that I got into gardening while in my 30's. "Well," I said. "When I was little I used to weed for grand pop Beckett...". "You couldn't remember that," he said. "You were too little. You must have heard someone talking about it." "Okay", I said as I closed my eyes and began pointing: "the rhubarb was there, the lima beans and corn were there, the raspberries there, the grapes over in that corner, and the strawberries were right there." I looked up to see his eyes had narrowed a little bit. "NO!" he said, and pointed just to the right of my last spot, the strawberries were over there!" End of discussion.

That was pretty much our relationship in a nutshell. I did, of course, remember Grand pop and Nana Beckett. I remember the garden. I remember sitting on the side porch of his house, shelling lima beans and shucking corn. I can hear the old wooden screen door snap not quite shut as my Grandmother came outside with a pitcher of iced tea.

 Reading from right to left, Nana (my Grandmother), Wilbur Beckett (her father & my Great Grandfather), Dad (her son - Wilbur Beckett Twiss), myself (standing) and my brother Lewis.

I would have been 8 years old then. Grand pop Beckett was in his 90's and living in what we used to call "The Old Age Home", Shady Rest. He would pass the following year.

This was taken in September 1961, on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. I'd know that boardwalk's pattern anywhere. And I know the date because on the back of the photo is this stamp:

I must admit that I was quite flummoxed by this pic - I couldn't remember that building anywhere. And then it hit me, I usually saw it with the store front opened up. It was a sort of beach shop, full of Coppertone, paperback books, magazines, etc. It was near the northern end of the Boardwalk. I feel so much better now.

The date stamp on the top of this pic notes: Jan 61. That sure isn't January weather. This has to be Lewis'  8th grade graduation, which sounds okay for June 1960. They are standing on the sidewalk in front of Dad's house on Lakeview Drive. It's all built up now, of course, even adding a cross street named "Redroe Ave." And there's also Dad's car. I loved that car. I want that car. Jeez - wide white sidewalls on the tires. (Sigh) I think the car appealed to a little seen sporty side of my father.

Here's a great pic of Dad, sitting in front of the Christmas tree at the house on Allen Street, looking sporty, taking a cue from Frank Sinatra,  He looks happy here.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.


No comments: