Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My Dad

My Dad's birthday is this Thursday.  He and his twin brother were born on Nov 10, 1923 in Changsha, China.  Uncle David came out first followed by my Dad.  My Dad is not Asian though.  He was born in China because his parents were there as Missionaries.  He spent the first two years of his life in China.  He doesn't remember any Chinese but he does remember growing up in Seattle Washington and having Chinese immigrants stay in their house and his Mother ended up using her contacts in China to open a Shop of China in Seattle WA and became a very competent business woman which helped the family get through the depression.  In China my Dad's nickname was Di Di and my uncles nickname was Go Go.  I'm not positive but I think Go Go is the first twin born and Di Di the second twin born.  My cousins call my Dad Uncle Di Di and I sometimes call my Uncle David, Uncle Go Go.  And I believe they called each other these nicknames all through their childhood.

My Dad was a mountaineer and skier as a young man.   He hiked to the top of Mt Rainier and skied down it!  He backpacked all over the Cascades and Olympic National park in Washington state.  He would tell us stories about building shelters and cooking over fires all of which now are considered not environmentally sound.  He had no fancy light weight equipment.  He carried an army rucksack and cooked dinner in a number 10 tin can with the lid taken up and a wire threaded through it to serve as a handle.  The food was usually plain rice and beans.  I don't envy him not having the modern comforts of backpacking but I do envy how wild the wilderness was when he was out adventuring.  He didn't have to worry about getting permits or reserving campsites.  He and his friends could hike for days without seeing another party.   I envy that.  It would be so nice to have the wilderness to myself for a bit of time like that.  It can be done now but you really have to work at it to find a vacant area.

My Dad became a historian.  He went to Washington University and Whitman College.  He got his PhD at Cornell University and three of his kids followed in his footsteps at Cornell (but not in history): me and my two brothers.  And now his grand daughter and a grand nephew has also gone to Cornell.  He met my Mom while at Cornell and they fell in love and got married in 1952.  He then worked as a professor at Ohio State University for 30+ years.  He wrote 4 books and many papers and managed to publish and not perish!  So yours truly grew up in Ohio.  

His has been retired for a while now.  I lost count.  I think he retired at 67 so that means he has been retired for 21 years.  At least he retired from teaching.  He continued to write history till a couple years ago when he finished his final book.  He is now looking for a publisher for it.  Its hard as the publishing world has changed a lot since he started this book.  He would dearly love to get it published but he is not having much luck.  I hope he finds a publisher eventually.  I think he mostly just enjoyed writing it over the last 10 years or so.  Sometimes it stressed him out a bit but it kept him  motivated and happy in his retirement.  Now he enjoys doing less intense writing.  He writes us kids once a week.  He writes lots of letters to the editor for the local newspaper.  I very much look forward to his weekly letters.  He has been writing us letters since we left for college.  That's nearly 30 years of weekly letters!!  Now that's a blogger, eh?