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Happy Birthday Dad!

August 1968 - one of my favorite photos. I took this with my first camera - a Kodak Instamatic. It was taken at Monterey on a drive down Highway 1 to visit my sister in Oxnard.

Today is my fathers birthday. He would have been one hundred years old today. It is hard for me to comprehend.

I really know so little of his early life. He married late in life and those first forty years I only know by oral history . He was born in Colorado. He was the third of four children. They were poor and my grandfather worked in the mines. My father only had a eighth grad education. He left school to help with odd jobs. He helped in the boarding house that my aunt ran for miners bringing coal for the stoves and sold extra to the working girls. Eventually he followed my grandfather and worked in the local mine but the family left Colorado for California with the waves of Okies in the early 30s. They settled in the Auburn area where he could find work in the gold mines.

The war was coming and opportunity was happening at a mine in eastern California. Union carbide was hiring men for their things tungsten mine high in the eastern Sierra . He drove over in the winter with a girl friend and joined the crew. He had a heart murmur and never went to war.

He met my mother after the war. She owned a bar that the miners frequented and met my dad. She was married with children but divorced her husband to marry my dad and start over.

They moved to the Central Valley with the idea of working on the Folsom dam project but ended up in Stockton with my uncle running a blacksmith shop. I was born and he followed my uncle to work for the city as an auto serviceman.

He retired after 15 years. He stayed active in volunteering and doing odd job. But his life long habit of smoking caught up with him in his late 70s and he passed away 15 years ago at 85.

I often wonder what he would have thought of the rapid changes since then. Machine fascinated him and I wonder if he would have ever used a computer.

Celebrating your memory and everything you did for me and all the things you did for me -- miss you so much.

I looked through the pictures that I collected from my mother. I have so few of him. We did not have a camera when I grew up and relied upon the occasional picture from a neighbor. I also have few pictures of him before he married my mother. But here are a few over the years.

The sisters and brothers in Colorado. He must have been around 5 or 6 years old. He is the 2nd from the left. Starting on the left, Leo, my dad, Cleo and Dorthea. He was already wearing a hat.

A crumpled picture that must have come from his wallet. No idea on the date although I am guessing it is the probably around 1936. My uncle is on the left, my aunt is in the middle and my dad on the right.

Age 25 - at the Auburn Chicago Mine in Penryn California 1938. He is in the first row - fifth from the left - notice the cigarette. He smoked until he was over 65.

Bishop January 1941 I found an old postcard showing the main street of Bishop and this picture looks very similar. It was sent by 'Doris' to my grandmother telling her that they had arrived in Bishop and it had been a hard drive from Auburn to Bishop with lots of snow and ice over the Sierras. I suspect 'Doris' was Dad's girlfriend at the time but never heard any stories about her.

Here he is with a group outside a bar - no idea where or what date. Judging by the amount of hair - I'm guessing in the 40's

Photos of my Dad and Mom just after they had married in Nevada.

Here were are as a family in Stockton after I was born. I'm guessing I might be about 2 or 3 years old.

September 1959 - 6 years old. I loved this dress with the rick-rack that my mother made. My dad in his typical stance - hands half in his dungaree pockets, cigarette and hat pushed back.

This is probably 1961 when I was in the 3rd grade.

August 1982 Seattle. Their last visit to the Pacific NW.

Dad and Mom some time in the 1980's.

One of my last photos of Dad celebrating his 80th birthday in 1993.

Comments (3)

A great tribute to your father!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Marta, I absolutely love this wonderful birthday post for your dad. I love all the old photos of your family and learning about his life. What wonderful memories you must have.

Thank you so much for sharing.


What a loving tribute to you dad, who sounds like a wonderful guy. I love seeing these pictures, and seeing you as a child. Thanks for sharing, Marta.

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