My Dad was awesome. He is pretty much the reason why I am as awesome as I am. My Dad was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island in the same town I grew up in. He was the first in his family to graduate college (with a Art degree) and after being a hippie in Southern California he went back for a Masters in Education.
My Dad was an art teacher in a low income, minority school district and he LOVED IT. He spent his ENTIRE career there (33 years). After teaching for 20ish years he went on to administration. He was a middle school assistant principal for a number of years and a high school assistant principal for a number of years. They wanted him to be principal, but he didn’t want to deal with politics.
When I was in first grade my Dad started a Saturday enrichment program for K-12 students. Some of my favorite childhood memories were from that program. My Dad also piloted a night school program within the school district so people could get their HS diplomas.
My Dad was a pretty big deal in the K-12 Education world. Even after he retired he couldn’t stay away. The last year of his life he was teaching in an education certificate program at a Dallas Community College.
My Dad was great at what he did. He was loved, feared and respected. I see so much of him in myself.
I should also mention that my Dad was and probably will forever be the funniest person I ever knew. He was witty, sarcastic, smart, quick, etc. Freakin’ hilarious. I thank him for my stellar sense of humor.
We both loved the beach, margarita swirls, Broadway musicals, slot machines, Law & Order: SVU, etc.
The last 3-4 years of his life I pretty much talked to him everyday, even multiple times a day. Since he was retired he was available to talk whenever. I generally would calling him when I was walking to and from class in grad school. Even if it was just a few minutes we’d have a great chat. I can honestly say we were best friends.
When I think of my Dad the first thing that comes to mind is the laughter. It makes me sad that so many people in my life didn’t get to meet him or will never have the chance. He would have been such an awesome Grandfather, awesome.
I do still plan on dancing to “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady at my wedding. It was a song he always sang to me when I was little and we always talked about dancing to it at my wedding. I’m not quite sure who I’ll dance with, maybe my sister.
To close one of the readings at his funeral was from Ecclesistes 3:1 and I find this part so fitting:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
Today is a time laugh and celebrate.
Love you Daddy!