Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Dad & His Grandchildren

My dad was a child of the Depression. Back then kids had to make their own fun and were never at a loss for something to do. If they weren't surf fishing or building forts in the cliffs at the beach, they were towing make-shift trailers behind their bikes for camping and rabbit hunting in the backcountry, or smoking spider webs in corncob pipes in their clubhouse and assembling rubberband guns for impromptu battles with the kids who lived on the other side of Cottonwood Creek.

He enlisted in the Navy on his 17th birthday and spent 3 years in the Marshalls and Solomon Islands during World War II. We could never get enough of his stories of being one of "Commander Bate's Five Hundred Thieves". He made building landing strips in a bug-infested, sweltering jungle and slogging through mud in the heat seem like an adventure.

He built us kites from scratch and attached them to fishing poles. They flew so far, we had to track them with binoculars. He took us on his childhood trails down the cliff to the beach and taught us to spot doodle bugs, trapdoor spider holes and sand crabs. When we sisters were still in elementary school, he came home from work with a surfboard for us, so heavy it took two of us to carry it. He can still predict rain more accurately than any weatherman or computer model, by how the seagulls fly.

He made my childhood magic, and when he became a grandfather, he made childhood magic for my kids, too.

The photographs are of my dad with my daughter and my son.

No comments: