As far as school went...my Dad completed the 9th grade, started the 10th grade and then dropped out of school. After dropping out of school he worked a few different jobs. Finally, one of the jobs he took worked out very well for him. He worked for a contractor who did aluminum siding. He started out earning $2.00 an hour. He and another guy worked for the contractor for 5 years until they both decided to go into business for themselves. Ok, finally....steady work...and making good money.
OK...Let's side step here for a moment and talk about something really fun!!! I know you're gonna like it...I can't help but like it! When my Dad was a young man, he spent a lot of time at the skating rink. He learned how to figure skate! He was good...like really good! Just like those figure skaters you see on TV. You're not going to believe this...but my Dad was so good...he ended up competing!
He competed at several rinks, depending on where the competitions were. These photos are priceless!! How do you like these costumes?!!
Enter stage right....my Mom!!!
Probably the cutest little thing on skates in the whole county. My Mom would always watch my Dad skate and thought he was so handsome. My Dad recalls the day he met my Mom. She and another girl came up to my Dad out on the floor. The one girl knew my Dad already and said "Hey, my friend here wants to know if you'll teach her how to do a "3 turn". He said "ya sure".
As he tells me the story the other night..this is how he talks, he says "I takes her by the hand". Instead of saying 'I took her by the hand'...he says "I takes her by the hand and proceed to show her how to do a 3 turn. Well, she's giggling and laughing and messing around. I told her, no, you're not being serious here, so no, I'm not going to show you if you're just gonna giggle and carry on." So he just left her there on the floor and skated away. As you can see, my Dad was serious about his skating. I asked my Dad, "Well, did you think she was pretty or cute?" He says "Oh ya...she was sharp...she was definitely...right there." And so, from then on they saw each other all the time at the skating rink and were together ever since.
My dad asked my Mom to marry him. She said yes.
He told me he asked her father for permission to marry her. He said yes. Here's the part I like...he said "her Dad had to sign for her because she was only 20." He said back then, if you were under 21, you had to have a parent sign for you.
They moved into their first apartment. My Dad's Grandmother moved in with them. They began building a family...the first 2 children were born...they bought their first house...then next 2 children were born. My Dad's Grandmother lived with them until it was no longer possible for them to care for her. They moved her into a place called Heart Home for the elderly, and eventually she went into the hospital where she passed away at age 89 or 90. He doesn't remember her exact age, but she sure did live a long time. I'm glad she got to see her grandson have a family and get to see some of her great grandchildren. I just remembered...they used to call her "Mum". That's what my Dad called her and my Mom did as well.
Like any young couple, in the beginning, money was tight, but eventually, years later, my Dad's business was doing well. He bought one acre of land in the suburbs northwest of Pittsburgh. He began building his dream home with his own two hands. With the house complete, they sold their house in Pittsburgh to my Mom's parents (my Grandparents) and moved into their new home. Then...guess who was born next? Me! Yes, I was child number 5, born in July of 1970. That's me there in the stroller, and those are my brothers and sisters.
The first 4 children were born consecutively...then there was an 8 year span of before I was born. Three and a half years later, my little sister was born. And then....they were done...she was the last born...the baby...(little brat! Ha Ha! Just kidding!)
I've got a few more things I'd like to share with you about my Dad. I will save it for Part 4, the final post...not the final chapter...he's still alive and well. He's 75 and is very much into building and flying model airplanes. He even joined a club last summer. He calls them "a bunch of old guys".
End of part 3...stay tuned for the final post of my father's story