Tag: Dad

Dad

When I came home from my job at a meat-packing plant (ugh, don’t ask, it was a long time ago) on this day, December 21st, I got a call from my aunt telling me that my dad had been taken to hospital. He’d collapsed at home. She told me to stay home and wait for news.

So I waited. And waited. I cleaned things. I remember installing some kind of shelf in the kitchen. I paced. Then a knock on the door. I opened it to find my Aunt standing there. She’d been crying. The first thing she said was, “We lost him.” He was 45 years-old.

I haven’t thought about that day in years. He passed away on December 21, 1992. And the passage of time has indeed done its healing thing. I think about him a lot though. He was my dad all too briefly. My mom fell in love with him when he moved in next door to us when I was seven. So, technically, my mom married the boy next door 🙂 He was awesome too. A great father, funny guy, passionate about oldies music, devoted to his family and even though he was my stepfather, I never referred to him as such until I had to start explaining how I was related to him after I met my equally awesome and cool biological father. It gets complicated 🙂

I changed my name from Gleason, which is my birth name, to Romanski – his name – when I was 10 as a birthday gift for him and I’m damn proud to still be a Romanski, if only in name and not by heritage.

Anyway, I wanted to remember him today by telling one of my favourite stories about him – of which there are many 🙂

When we lived in Council Bluffs, IA for a time, my parents had joined a bowling league. Sometimes my sister and I would go with them and watch or play in the arcade etc. while the adults bowled. But on one particular occasion, I was home babysitting Kelly and enjoying having total control of the TV 🙂 I was just about to make some popcorn and enjoy an evening of MTV when the door opened and i walked my parents way too early.

Puzzled, I asked what they were doing home. As I said this dad had scurried off to their bedroom while my mother was doing her best to to break out laughing. I remember grinning and asking again why they were home so early. Then my dad came out, looking sheepish, and said that he had torn his jeans.

I asked if he fell or something.

“No. Hehehe. I was about to bowl, and as I took a step I heard a *RRRRIIIIP* and then felt a breeze where there should be no breeze.”

I stifled a giggle. He went on to explain that his jeans were perhaps a touch too tight, and that when he took the big Bowler’s step, they split at the seem, exposing his tighty-whiteys to the entire league. but the best part of the story is what he did next. He did not try and slink away in shame. Oh no, not my dad 🙂 After freezing for a moment, probably trying to decide how best to proceed, in typical ‘that’s my dad’ fashion, he turned around and faced everyone in the league, and did a little jig.

Everyone laughed and my mom was giggling all the way home. I love this story 🙂

That’s my dad.

Holidays

I don’t know why, but this year seems particularly tough as far as getting through family-type events. I miss my mom. I alternately miss her and I’m terribly afraid that I’m going to die unexpectedly young. I’ve never talked about that before but I’m trying a new thing where I write without editing myself. So whatever pours out of my head is what’s getting published here.

This is what I think about when I’m sitting in a quiet house late in the evening. Not all the time of course, but this time of year, it seems to creep up. It’s the holidays. I love them and I hate them. Christmas for me, growing up, was always – always – about being with my family and all of our silly little traditions. Dad would let my sister and I open one present on Christmas eve, but the rest were for Christmas morning. We’d have a nice dinner xmas eve (in later years this somehow included oyster stew which I never understood) and then I’d spend a sleepless night waiting for the earliest possible moment when I could wake up the parents and see what “Santa” brought.

Santa brought pressies for us kids until we were 18 😉

Don’t get me wrong, presents were nice, but what I loved most was Christmas morning. The smell of coffee going, and mom would be frying up bacon and making french toast. We’d all just hang out in our PJs and sit around the tree and slowly savour taking turns opening gifts. It lasted for hours and it was all of us, the dog and the cat just hanging, laughing and being a family. Dad would present mom with her annual gifts of her favourite perfume and the most current copy of Writer’s Market (she was always trying to sell her stories to magazines etc.)

After the gifting stuff was done, Kelly and I would spend the day playing with the new stuff or modeling the new clothes. Maybe we’d see friends, or if extended family was in town we’d be getting ready for you usual traditional xmas day dinner.

I miss this terribly. I never worried or thought about death much growing up. Never had to face it. I lost pets of course, a couple of them quite tragically. But that doesn’t prepare you for losing your parents. The first funeral I ever went to in my whole life was my mother’s. Mom wouldn’t have any kind of service for Dad when he died. She just couldn’t face it. They had the Big Love, forever kind of stuff and losing him changed her. She never so much as dated after he died. And she died alone. She had a stupid pulmonary embolism that killed her on the floor in her living room and if she hadn’t been able to make it to the phone to at least dial 911, she would have lain there all day until one of us stopped by to visit.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Not sure I had a point. Just that it feels like the holidays will be harder than usual this year and I’m not sure why. There are people who are worse off than I am – by far. I shouldn’t bitch. I have people who love me and whom I love. Maybe thinking about that will get me through it. And I will be fine during the brunch my Gran is planning and during the trip we hope to make to Lincoln soon to see Jo and the gang there. I’m sure this is just melancholy brooding. It happens sometimes.

So I may hate Christmas for making me feel like this and love it for the times I got to spend happily laughing away with Mom and Dad and Kelly. It’s not like I’d rather not celebrate the whole ‘being with those you love’ aspect of Christmas. I have Shannon, and family to make more good memories with. And it will be fine.

And I should go to bed now.

Waxing nostalgic

I’m listening to “Take Good Care of My Baby” on Matt’s show on XM5. I have strong memories about this song but it’s some kind of sense memory. I loved the song when I was younger, but I don’t think it was this Bobby Vee version. Or maybe it was. Just did some Googling. The Beatles covered it (who also factored bigtime in my youth as my mother was a big big fan) but I can’t see any other covers by anyone I really know. Weird.

I’m guessing it was a song my dad played a lot. He had a big collection of 45s and a beat-up old Seeburg jukebox he was always tinkering with. He loved all that 50s music and it was always around growing up that it was inevitable that my sister and I would love it too. And kind of fate that she would fall in love with a fantastic 50s DJ 🙂 Dad used to host a little 50s show on a tiny radio station in Santa Cruz. I loved going up there with him and hanging out (there was ping pong in the storage room) while he did his show.  And he never failed to, at least once, do his wonderful Wolfman Jack impression. He rocked it 🙂

See, listening to Matt the Cat’s show always does this to me – makes me remember dad and what a cool guy he was. Thanks Matt!

I miss that old jukebox too. Once – just once – for a wrap party I had after my drama class’s last play of the year, he let me put my own 45s in the juke (mostly consisting of 80s bands.) and we set it up in our family room with the patio just outside as the dance floor. We also had a normal stereo set up in the other living room with tunes out there, but the jukebox was where everyone congregated that night. They loved it. Was a fun party (well, except for being forced to watch the star of the play, whom I had an enormous crush on, make out with his little twit of a girlfriend on my couch, but I’m focusing on the tunes 🙂 )

So I didn’t have a real purpose for this post. I just felt an overwhelming need to blog something – anything. And this little trip down memory lane was it. It was a nice trip. I’m glad I can be at a point when I can look back at stuff like dad doing the Wolfman and enjoy it instead of feeling bad. Gosh, it’s been 16 years since he died. Wow. Shannon wasn’t quite 1 yet. Kelly was 12. That’s just freaky. I hadn’t thought about how long it’s been. Sometimes it seems so recent. It’s weird.

Er, I didn’t mean to get sniffly. Still boggling at the time. It’s getting late though, should hit the sack. I want to see if the dream about the magic chalk continues 🙂