Dad was the mainstay of our family when I was younger. Mom being a little shy, daddy filled in for what she was uncomfortable doing.
He was even the one who bought our clothes for us. He would come home on a Saturday night with two new beautiful dresses for Joan and I, just to make sure that we were well dressed at church the next morning. I loved the clothes he would pick out… red velvet or black velvet with white collars. I always thought I was the most beautiful little girl in the world. I've since seen pictures of myself and now know that the dresses were usually bought bigger so that we wouldn't out-grow them so quickly. I never knew that we didn't have much money, so when dad would come home with those clothes, my mother always seemed to be upset over it. I guess she was the one trying to manage a budget.
Dad also did the shopping for groceries, and that was one place he never skimped. We always had so much food on the table. Mom would try to make leftovers last for days. Dad would do the cooking first, always on Sunday, and we'd come home from church with a feast awaiting us for our noonday meal.
Sunday was “fun day” for our family. It was daddy’s only day off and he always wanted to do something that was as far from working as possible. The first thing was Sunday breakfast… Dad was Greek, and I can still hear him calling us to breakfast after he had cooked a huge meal: “Get ON the table!” he would yell, trying to get us out of bed. His English never quite made it but we had a lot of laughs because of it. Get ON the table was always a good one. In later years, by the time we had finished eating breakfast, he was well into starting to cook for the extended families who were coming over for lunch/dinner (today we'd call it brunch)…my two brothers and their families and my sister and her family and of course me and my family. We lived in a mobile home in mom and dad’s back yard.
Back to when we were younger, after breakfast we packed up and drove an hour to the beach… Rehoboth/Dewey Beaches…made famous by President Johnson’s daughters who came over from Washington, DC to party…
The large part of these Sunday trips to the beach was that dad was a gambler…loved his cards…. and that’s why he always headed to the “game” in Rehoboth. Our food for that day was the Boardwalk Fries, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, ice cream and of course, always a big box of Salt Water Taffy! The day would end at about 2-3 o'clock in the morning with Mom and us kids waiting in the car for him to finish his card game, and then another hour drive home. Monday mornings were never easy for mom to get us up to go to school. Today dad would probably be arrested for neglect. I always saw it as just another adventure!
Dad had diabetes and ultimately lost a leg because of it. He never quite recovered from that disease and died at the early age of 63. Family life sort of stopped at the same time. Now I realize that it was Daddy who kept the family together, not only immediate family, but all the aunts and uncles and cousins. Only time you see them now is if there is a funeral.
However, my young life was blessed.