Essentially I emailed family and friends of my Dad. This included all of his children, their spouses, even his grandchildren. His siblings, his aunts, and friends that my parents have known for years. I told them about my Dad's birthday and asked them to share a favorite story or memory they have of my Dad. The emails and memories starting flying in. Once I had 65 individual memories, I typed them up and printed them out, stuffing them each inside their own individual envelope. I wasn't sure how my Dad was going to take to my home made gift, but I was very anxious to see.
He loved it! At first he said, "Well, I'm not going to open all of these now..." However, the more he opened, the more he kept going. It was fun to join him at the table and hear an explanation behind each story or memory a friend had submitted. We laughed, even cried - but we laughed most of all.
Happy Birthday Dad!
Here are some of my favorite stories I compiled:
He was playing with a clothes hanger once and somehow got the wired curve of the hanger caught in his eye. I thought I would die I was so frightened. I called Ethel and told her there was no blood, but I was afraid to pull it out. She had me to get him on a city bus and take him down town where she worked for an eye, ear, nose & throat physician. The doctor removed the hanger and filled his eye with an antibiotic and we came back home none the worse! – Betty Wolfe (my Dad's Aunt)
No one can say “Idiot!” quite like Matt. =) – Karen (my sister in law) or “What’s this low fat CRAP?” – Jodi (my sister)
I remember going home teaching with Dad and stopping off for Strawberry soda after we finished. One time after going home teaching we pulled half-way down our street and Dad realized our Home Teachers were over so he stopped, backed up, and we went out for ice-cream. When we got back to the street he asked why our garage door was open and I told him I had hit the garage door remote when we came down the first time. So the Home Teachers probably heard the garage door open and wondered why we never showed up. -Joel (my brother)
I remember many father/son campouts – while others tried to cook tin foil dinners on little hibachis we just waited for dad to get back from McDonalds. – Joel
When we lived in Belgium, I was probably 6 or 7 and I believe we were at a hotel in Amsterdam. In the lobby of the hotel there were some arcade games. This was in the days before PlayStation and Wii, so we never got to play video games. There was a particular car racing game that I really wanted to play, but Dad wouldn't give me a quarter so I could play it. Later the kids and Mom were in the lobby and Dad was in the room. I went to the room and told him that Mom needed a quarter. I can't remember what excuse I gave him as to why Mom needed the quarter. He gave me the quarter and I used it to play the video game. The game probably didn't last longer than a minute. I always felt bad about lying to Dad about the need for the quarter and that has always stuck with me. – Jason (my brother)