Memory Monday ~ Daddy

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Today I’m joining Judy at Retired-Not-Tired for Memory Monday.  Today’s prompt is My Daddy.

My daddy was one of seven children, six boys and only one girl. Unfortunately, one of the boys and the girl died early in life, leaving only five sons.  One particular thing I remember about the five brothers is they all had nicknames while growing up.  I’ve forgotten what some of the nicknames were, but one uncle was known as “Bully”, while another was known as “Bo Day”.  Daddy’s nickname was “Pretty Boy”, maybe because he liked to dress up and look nice.

My daddy’s father gave him a pocket watch on his eighteenth birthday because daddy hadn’t tried alcohol, up to that point. Unfortunately, after his father gave him that pocket watch, daddy decided to try alcohol, a few years later. What began as ‘social drinking’, eventually became full-blown alcoholism, a problem which plagued daddy throughout his life.

Daddy started out farming, but shortly after marrying mama, the two left country living behind, and moved to the big city of Jacksonville, Florida. Mama said she didn’t like the way daddy’s brothers took advantage of him, in the farming operation, so she encouraged him to quit, and make a new start.

For a while, in Florida, daddy was a traveling salesman, but I’m not sure what he sold, ’cause that was before my time.  Later, after I was born, daddy drove a Sunbeam bread truck for a living, and, years later, for a time, he even ran a gas station.

6-29-2010 7;34;31 AM old fam pics1

Daddy, while living in Florida

In 1963, daddy and mama decided to move back to Georgia, and start over.  Their drinking had landed them in a financial disaster. Once back in Georgia, daddy held several more jobs, including managing a grocery store.

Now, Daddy had a ‘green thumb’ and could grow anything.  No matter where we lived, daddy usually had a small garden growing.  He was able to grow enough vegetables to fill our freezer, and, often, would sell the extra vegetables to local grocery stores.  The extra money often came in handy.

Daddy eventually became a guard at Georgia State Prison, where he worked until he retired, in 1988. Oh, the job-related stories daddy could tell!  The prisoners could (and did) make weapons out of anything!  A few of the prisoners were very talented, and put their talents to good use, making and selling all sorts of items.  One of the most unusual items I can remember was a picture frame made entirely out of match sticks!

Old photos 2 1975 and 7622

Daddy (cir. 1975) in his guard uniform

 The years passed, and mama and daddy were finally able to purchase another home.  The above picture was taken in front of that second home.  Mama and daddy spent fifteen years, together, in this home, before illness struck.

Unfortunately, daddy’s final years on earth were tough ones.  About the time he retired from working,  his health began to rapidly deteriorate, at age sixty-two.  First, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, followed by a nearly lethal battle with pneumonia.

The pneumonia was so bad, daddy stayed on a respirator, in ICU, for two months. Then, he also suffered more complications  caused by the pneumonia (a blood clot of the intestines, caused by a lack of oxygen), which kept him in the hospital for a total of four long months!  Daddy lost nearly one-half of his intestines to gangrene, before the doctors finally did exploratory surgery, and found the problem.

Daddy spent the final two years of his life shifting between hospitals and the nursing home.  He eventually died, after his long battle with illness, on May 16, 1991, about a month after he celebrated his 65th birthday.

I was grateful for the extra time I had with daddy, even though much of it was spent at his bedside. Daddy and I hadn’t always been close, while I was growing up, but we developed a good relationship during those final years.

Published in: on December 1, 2014 at 1:36 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your father. It is so difficult to see our parents when they are battling diseases with no hope of a cure.

  2. Oh my goodness that is so sad and I feel your pain because I watched my mother suffer so long with leukemia. The positive side of that for us is always the being able to grow the relationship in those last years. It was a happy picture of him in his uniform and the love of growing things and gift of a green thumb, I so admire.

  3. We have a friend who works in the kitchen at San Quentin. He has many, many crazy stories to tell too!

    I’m sorry to hear life was so hard for your Daddy at the end. I’m sure a bright spot for him was developing a much needed relationship with you. It certainly sounds like it was a good thing for you.

    I have started updating my 365 blog… I know, I know, How long will it last? Don’t know but I’ve posted a few pictures a day for the past few days, and I’ve set goals for the week for it, so we’ll see!

  4. Your dad was a hard worker. He provided for his family. I’m so sorry he got so sick, while still so young. We have had similar experiences, though my dad was not an alcoholic, he was addicted to cigarets, and they got him in the end. I know you miss yours, as I miss mine!

  5. I’m so glad y’all developed a good relationship before your daddy passed. My grandparents and parents were hard workers and I am grateful to see that in my daughters. I was so excited about this week’s post but, this afternoon, we learned that Dad’s cancer is back on the move. Nothing immediate but he has to have some tests in January. I can’t even begin to imagine life without him.

  6. It sounds like you understood your Daddy more than yo u did your mother but then isn’t a father-daughter bond like no other?

  7. I just want to clarify what I just wrote. I thought you seem able to understand your father better than you understood your mother. i realized it could be taken to mean you understood him better than she did, and that’s not what I meant

  8. my biological father definitely found alcohol young… and kept at it. My mom was actually a prison guard for many years. She met and married my step father at the prison too. (to be clear, he was another guard – NOT a prisoner! LOL). It’s nice that you were able to have those last years with your dad.

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