Tuesday, August 12, 2008


My sister and I were just realizing our dad passed away 10 years ago this month. He was 69, too young in my opinion. He had dealt with cancer for a number of years. It first reared its ugly head way back when I was still in High School. That must have been a scary situation with 5 kids still at home and another 4 in various stages of young adult life. He won the battle that time, but it came back again 20 years later. He fought the disease and managed the symptoms for about 2 years before he passed away. Surprisingly he lead quite an active life during a good portion of those 2 years.

Melanie was only 4 at the time. I forget sometimes that my younger kids don't really remember him. I need to share more stories of their Grandpa with them. (Melanie wanted me to make it crystal clear that she was biting on her fingernails in this photo and not picking her nose!)

We were able to have Melanie's baby blessing at a family reunion, camping in northern Arizona. ( I don't recall her having an issue with male-pattern baldness, but she does look a lot like her grandpa in this picture.) My dad loved to explore the surrounding areas wherever he lived. In Winslow, he would take us to spend a Saturday sand surfing in the Painted Desert, bogging in the Little Colorado River, swimming in Barbershop Canyon, camping at Buck Springs and hiking down Canyon de Chelly. He could even make a Saturday morning trip to the city dump fun for us.

In Heber, he and Mom would take us camping or picnicking in the beautiful mountains nearby when we would come to visit. This is Roxanne hiking around with her Grandpa. Roxanne snapped this photo a few minutes later. Not bad photography for a 3 year old.

Here is Brady reading with his Grandpa. My dad always looked the same. Either he didn't age, or maybe just aged early on then never changed? This is a picture of him on his mission in Mexico in the late 1940's.
People that hadn't seen him in 30 years always recognized him right away.

I pulled out his life story this week and enjoyed reading - he was a very good writer. He not only wrote his own life story, but compiled stories for many other relatives and ancestors. I enjoyed reading about his career:

I could not have chosen a field of work that I would have enjoyed more than retailing. There is a certain romance about retailing as I experienced it. There is an exhilaration that comes when you buy and sell something successfully. And I've had spectacular successes and dismal failures, too.

He goes on to describe some of the crazy sales in the 50's and 60's:

We held Night Sale events, Crazy Day events, Sidewalk Sales, or anything else you could think of and the public came. Washington's Birthday Sale was a one-day sale spectacular where everyone did the craziest things that could be imagined. One year we wore George and Martha Washington costumes with long white wigs. The public loved it. Crowds were so large that sometimes stores were torn up and people were hurt. I remember one time a woman was pushed down the main front stairway and broke her leg. We had to close one time long enough to clean up the broken glass from counters that were turned over. I remember a night sale event that started at 10pm that became so large that the police had to ask people not to drive into certain areas because of the traffic jams. I've known customers to tear up clothing fighting over a size or color because of the low price offered.

I've seen large quantities of merchandise sold in a very short period of time. We think that large stores have a monopoly on big sales today, but stores in the past could move merchandise too. I sold 1300 lbs of fresh fig bars one Saturday. We sold 10,000 boxes of chocolate cherries one season and 10,000 decorated marshmallow Easter eggs another season. I sold 50 power mowers one Friday and Saturday and 200 metal garbage cans. I've sold hundreds of Christmas trees, thousands of pairs of Levis, cherry tarts, Myna birds, cow manure and just about anything else you might think of. One style of peasant blouse, we sold 4500 over a two year period. You would have thought that everyone, everywhere would have been wearing one of them.

There have been times when the public was unbelievably dishonest and unbelievably funny. As an example, I confronted a woman once who had a purse over her arm, and I had the price tag that she had just removed from the purse moments earlier. When confronted with that price tag she became so frightened that she stood there an wet her pants causing a large puddle on the floor even though I hadn't said a word.

We also caught a young girl stealing a prom dress on prom night. I remember her tears.

I remember a young man who ran away with a pair of our nice shoes. I ran outside, saw which way he went, jumped into my little red Volkswagen car and pursued him full speed ahead! I chased him around blocks, up and down alleys, through private yards, service stations, vacant lots, and everywhere else he went. He finally threw the shoes into someones yard and ducked across the train yard and under a train that was stopped there. I couldn't follow him further, but I'll bet he'll never forget about the time he was chased by a little red Volkswagen.

How incredible to have a career that you love and have fun with -- the "game" of retail.

My parents were incredible to put two very different families together and blend them into one cohesive group of people. He writes of stories and adventures that you just simply can't predict or imagine as you start down a road of raising a blended family. And during a good chunk of our growing up years, he was my bishop.

I miss my dad.


CaliZona said...

Please, pretty please give us more excerpts from your father's wonderful story.

I enjoyed this post very, very much. I am calling it, "Moving Merchandise- my story". Or wait, maybe
"The Small Town Mercantile, and other adventures" and perhaps,
"Keeping Shop and a Family Together"

Lauri said...

Dad LOVED his career. He'd get so excited when he started talking about it. I hope when I write my life story, it's as entertaining as his is.

You have a few great pictures of him that I've never seen. I especially like the one of him and Brady reading a story. Brady doesn't seem as interested as dad does.

Katie said...

I was nearly 17 when he died and I hardly remember him, either. But I LOVE the picture Roxanne took of him.

I read his life story once while I was still in high school, but I don't remember it being so funny. I bet it takes a different perspective now that I'm an adult with my own family. I should read it again.

Joan is my kids only great grandparent from either side. It always makes me a little sad that they don't have more.

Cathy said...

What a neat remembrance! I remember meeting your dad at your wedding, and your right he does always look the same! Do we ever stop missing our parent so much? Yesterday, I so badly wanted to call my mom on the phone, it took a lot to remind and convenice myself, they don't answer phones in the spirit world!

Heidi said...

What a beautiful tribute. I love that photo of him standing by the building--so handsome!

I am Boymom said...

I loved reading his description of life in Retail! How great that he took the time to write his life experiences down. Mine didn't do that and I am sad that I don't have his stories to pass on to my kids. Your dad sounds like a woonderful man.

Suzanne Barker said...

What a great posting Cindy. And what a treasure to have your Dad's life story.

rachel said...

I remember grandpa pretty well actually. We were always stopping in Heber to see them. I didn't know he liked retail so much, that's funny.