Major Family Milestone/My Dad Turns 75 Today

Today my father celebrates his 75th birthday. I had a nice conversation with him this evening and, earlier today, sent what may have been his first voice text message with birthday wishes. I recently visited my parents and my brother a month ago to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, another exciting milestone. It saddens me that I don’t have enough money to take a second flight to see them today, as I would have loved to have been there to celebrate my dad’s birthday with my family.
As I reflect on this special day, I can’t help but realize how many of my own qualities and traits are influenced by my dad. I wrote about this in an earlier post but I can’t help thinking about it again, particularly today.
My love for radio drama, now often called audio theater, was passed down to me by my dad. When I was around ten years old, he told me about the radio dramas and comedies he used to listen to when he was growing up. At some point, when I was nine or ten, he bought me a copy of an episode of “the Shadow” starring Orson Wells. It was an intense, dark episode and probably not one I would have bought for an impressionable kid like myself but I was intrigued and definitely hooked. (To be fair, my dad didn’t know what type of episode it was, as most of the later ones he grew up with were a lot tamer.) From that time on I always had a great love for audio theater, from the classic shows of the 1930’s and 1940’s to modern drama produced today, including the fan fiction series “Star Trek Outpost,” which I plan to write about in a future piece on this blog.
Similarly, my love and passion for science fiction was given to me by my dad as well. I can remember going to many SF movies with him, including some of the Star Trek and Star Wars films. In the mid-1980’s, I got my dad interested in “Doctor Who” and we used to watch many of those episodes together at home. Since then, I’ve read many science fiction novels and short stories and have even written a few stories over the years, all thanks to my father.
My interest in shortwave radio is also because of my father. when I was around ten, he told me that he had a radio when he was a kid which was able to pick up stations from other countries. This fascinated me. I was already a bit of a radio nerd. I knew where all of the local stations were on the dial and I used to love tuning into stations from far away late at night, but they were pretty much all located in the United States. When my father told me that shortwave receivers could pick up stations from across the world, I knew I had to have one. He bought one for me and it opened up a whole new world for me. My current receiver, a Sangean ATS909 from C. Crane was one which my father owned and traded with me for my Grundig Yachtboy 400PE, a trade I always felt was a bit unfair because the Sangean is a better receiver.
My dad also did a lot to encourage my love and interest in music, particularly regarding my ability to play. When I was a kid, we had one of those small, portable organs and I used to play around with it, not really figuring out chords but just notes. My mom, of course, thought this was pretty nifty that her little son was a bit of a musician, even if I wasn’t a particularly good one. In the 1980’s, I began to discover electronic keyboards and my dad purchased a few for me during my high school years, starting with a Cassio VL-1 in 1981 followed by a rocking MT40 in 1982, along with a $200.00 electric drumset, stuff that my dad probably struggled to afford more than I probably realized. In 1983, I asked him if we could buy a real, acoustic piano. We went to several music stores to try some of them out and I picked out a Young Chang upright, another item which I’m not sure how he managed to afford. I used it to do a lot of playing and wrote many songs with it and I still have it to this day.
I also definitely have my Dad’s sense of humor, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on whether you happen to be a fan of my sense of humor.
I think that, more than anything else, my father always encouraged his kids to be themselves and do the best they could. It didn’t matter whether we were doctors or common laborers, lawyers or ditchdiggers. Somehow, my brother and I knew that what was important was doing what we loved doing and following our passions. We were never encouraged to follow a specific path, only to follow the one which we were meant to follow. I’d like to thank all of my readers for reading this post and, in a small way, celebrating the great life and legacy of my father with me. Happy birthday, Dad. I love you very much. Thank you for everything.

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