Remembering Our Dads
My dad was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana (better known to the natives as Naw’lins) Dad was graduated from McDonogh 35 High School where most Black Students attended unless they attended a private school. He was graduated from Southern University where he later taught building and woodwork.
During World War 2, Dad went to work at the shipyard in San Francisco. After the war he worked as a pile driver building the Bay Bridge. He loved the outdoors.
While he was an avid supporter of the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, hunting and fishing were his games!!! Winter months would find him and his buddies hunting in Idaho. Once when I was about 10, and we were on a road trip, he stopped to fish. I was excited to be along with him and I had so much to tell him. He called my name and told me to be quiet because I would scare the fish away. I was devastated!!! I didn’t eat fish until I was an adult! You could always find pheasant, deer and other wild game in his freezer. Oh, and he loved oysters from the gulf and he liked them on the half shell.
Dad was a fun-loving person. He would sit back quietly waiting for reactions to the practical jokes he had set up. Once, he waited until my youngest son was asleep and placed a toy snake with ‘glow in the dark eyes’ on his pillow. My son woke up, jumped out of bed and threw the snake across the room, then realized it was one of his grandfather’s practical jokes. Dad thought it was hilarious!!! My dad did not sleep that night because every time he thought about it, he would start laughing again.
Affectionately known as “Big Daddy,” he shared his creative skills with his grandsons. My admiration for my sons and the awesome fathers they have become. I hope their children have the wonderful memories of their dads as I have of mine.
My dad was born in 1909, in Fowler, California (a city in Fresno County) where he grew up. Early in life he worked mostly in agriculture, until he decided to join the California Conservation Corp. (CCC) where he helped build roads in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. His great- granddaughter, while vacationing in Sequoia, saw the history of the California Conservation Corp on a plaque and became very excited because she could relate that sign to her great- grandfather.
My dad married in 1936 and later moved his family to Los Angeles where he completed his education. He became a welder and worked at the the shipyard in Long Beach during World War 2. I remember having skates and bikes as my dad was able to weld, repair and reassemble them.
After the war, my dad became a truck driver for the City of Los Angeles, a position he held until he retired.
Some of my fondest memories was listening to my dad sing songs recorded by Nat King Cole (You’re the cream in my coffee, you’re the salt in my stew . . .). As a kid, when I watched him shave he would lather my face, turn the razor backward and pretend to shave me.
My dad planted and raised a beautiful garden. We had every kind of vegetable you could name. Our yard was immaculate!! My dad mowed the yard every Saturday and trimmed the edges on his hands and knees. He continued this ritual until his health began to fail.
Dad was an avid Dodger fan, he followed them and knew all of their stats!!! Dad lived up to his motto: to become a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was known to be a very loving and affectionate person. His grandchildren often state, “When they made my grandfather they broke the mold.” My father has left a very positive stamp on his family.