My personal website would not be complete without a section about my father. Since my parents seperated when I was young, I did not get the chance to experience many father and son shared events. Therefore, most of this text is written from my viewpoint now as an adult and is based upon the memories I have along with the things that I have learned since becoming an adult. Since I don't have that much on dad directly, much of this is my memory of what was provided for us by my parents.
My dad has had severe vision problems throughout his life and it appears to me to be related to Aniridia. Unfortunately, I have never seen any medical records or paperwork to confirm this or otherwise show what it is. My medical records indicate that my vision conditions are inherited, but this is mostly based upon what the family knows. Medical research wasn't as good in the mid 1900s as it is today, so quite possibly not even my dad was aware of the condition specifications.
In addition to that, dad doesn't speak of the vision conditions much. I can relate to that as I spent most of the first 20 years of life either pretending there was nothing wrong or trying to steer the attention away from that to more positive aspects of life myself. It is better to concentrate on what you can do rather than be depressed about what you can't change. Whatever the reasoning my dad had, it is certainly within his rights to share as little or as much as he chooses.
Dad was a TV repairman before us kids came along. I became interested in electronics repair in my high school years because a family friend ran a small shop out of his house. It was after I started pursuing that as a career that I found out my dad used to do it for a living. We have exchanged many stories and experiences since then. Some of the techniques used in the early days of TV repair can still have a place in the more modern troubleshooting world of today.
By the time I came into the world, my parents had purchased a small resort property at a lake. The property was on a hill with our house being at street level, the customer area being downstairs, but at the property level where the door was. Further down the hill was the lake. It was a good size property with trees and picnic areas. THere was also a building with a few rooms that could be rented out. They rented out fishing rowboats from the pier that was at the beach on our property.
The inside of the customer area was about the size of a full basement. There were big glass windows which provided a view of the property and most of the lake area. This was very helpful as my parents could watch us kids outside while tending to business inside. We sold bait, bagged snacks (chips, etc), drinks, and dad even had a grill where he would cook up hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. The place had a jukebox, a mini bumper pool table, and a baseball themed pinball game. I simply don't have enough time or available space to list the amount of fun I remember having there as a very young child.
Typical of family business in those days, the enviroment for the family and the customers was very casual and friendly. It was common for the customers to be inside having a conversation with dad. He got to know the regulars very well and apparently met quite a few friends along the way. Neighbors would also often drop by and I recall quite a few times when we had group outdoor barbeque adventures.
Although both of my parents ran the resort, dad was mostly the one who dealt with the customers. Mom managed the household life and also took on other outside jobs to supplement the family income. Dad maintained the property and also became a significant part of the lake management. Dad would also hook up the snowplow attachment to the tractor and have most of the small subdivision cleared after a snowstorm before the city got to us. Dad helped out neighbors doing other chores too. Both of my parents were highly respected in the area for all of their efforts.
Because it was a family business, the kids had jobs to do also. There were fishing boats to be cleaned, pier setup in the spring and removal in the fall, and any number of other tasks that we could do ourselves or help out with. My most vivid memory is that of packing worms from the big tubs they were delivered in into the small plastic cups that we sold. Each cup had to have the proper number of worms and amount of dirt. Packing worms isn't really a difficult thing, but it does tend to get monotonous. Both of my parents believed in working hard and putting in their best effort. From these experiences, I also learned that doing a job right is important and that has stuck with me ever since.
There were lots of things to experience around that place. I remember string fishing off of the pier, sometimes catching fish by hand while swimming, getting frogs and racing them down the paved walkway, and the many wading and swimming times. In the winter, the lake freezes and ice skating or sleding was on the agenda. We would also investigate the duck blinds when the hunters weren't using them. I learned how to play well with my brother and could also entertain myself.
My best guess is that I was about 7 years old when the seperation had occurred. Dad remained at the resort and continued to operate it by himself. As the subdivision grew, dad helped to make sure that the community didn't forget it's past. He also took charge of the lake management issues. It is sad that so many people who purchase lakefront property seemingly have little interest in the conditions of the lake. Dad was also a major influence on a landfill expansion plan where he worked with the city to keep the project in check.
Dad retired and moved from the resort and purchased another house nearby another lake. He got involved with that neighborhood association and did more than his part to help manage public areas and waterways. He became friends with several neighbors and helped one who lived next to him in a time of need. He liked to relax at the park overlooking the lake, just watching whatever was going on at the time.
Sadly, he suffered a stoke and completely lost his sight and some of his mobility. Eventually he required a live in caregiver to help him. During his last years, I visited several times to manage his care and house. It was during those times that I got some quality time to actually get to know him better. I am thankful for that!