Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Meet the Extended Family- My dad

Here's a photo of my dad, Steve, with my sister Suzanne and I. Isn't he cute? He is 65 years old and has about 10 gray hairs. He's a very 'young' dad. Every so often I'll be out with my dad, and people will think I'm his wife. I'm sure that's a reflection on him looking younger, and not me looking older!

Here's a bit about his background. He came from a family of three boys, and he is the youngest. He was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His father, Papa Charlie as we called him, immigrated to the East Coast through Ellis Island from Hungary as a young teenage boy. His family returned to Hungary, but he stayed on. He married my grandma Bernice in 1929 and they were married for 62 years. Papa Charlie was in the unfinished furniture business, and Grandma Bernice (Burr-niss as Charlie pronounced it - we don't know why - everyone else pronounced it Burr-neice) was a homemaker and never even learned to drive. I could tell all kinds of stories about my grandparents, whom I adored - but I'll probably do that on another post somewhere down the line!

My dad was a sharp student and served as student body president as well as editor of the school newspaper at Lennox High (near Inglewood). He probably could have had just about any girl on his arm (he was quite handsome as well, I might add), but from age 15 or so only had eyes for one girl - my mom, Wanda Brooks. She was a longtime family friend, spunky and cute, and they married in 1961, at the ages of 20 and 19. My mom worked as my dad finished college, then stayed home to raise my sister and I. My dad went on to a long career in banking. Now, he is an auditor and works as much or as little as he likes, which is nice. My parents were married for 44 years, before my mom passed away unexpectedly from heart trouble in November 2005. My dad's first thought when he lost my mom was, what will I do without her? It has been very hard and he is very lonely without her. They had a wonderful life together filled with many many good times and fond memories.

The joy of his life are his grandkids - my kids Drew (Butch) and Emma (too-cute hunny-bunny sweetheart lollipop picklepuss metal-mouth too-stinky-trash-can), and Suzanne's boys Austin, Luke, and Vance (known collectively as "the wrecking crew"). Austin and Luke somehow escaped getting a dreadful nickname (unlike my kids), but Vance is branded "little Stevie Cinco" (5th grandson- middle name Stephen after my dad). My dad enjoys taking his grandchildren on vacation one on one and spoiling them, and he does it often! He and my mom also have taken every single one of their grandkids to Disneyland! Below is a photo of Luke & Papa last summer in Las Vegas at the M&M store...Luke made out with a giant bag of candy!

Some things to know about my dad, in no particular order of importance: he's a cancer survivor; he once impulsively bought a brand new convertible Porsche without telling my mom; he makes the best latkes on the planet; he loves to read; he travels 40 minutes to buy the best rye bread and sends it to my aunt in Alaska; he loves the pickled green tomatoes I make him from my garden; he likes to hang out at the "cigar shop"; he loves a wide variety of music; he loves extra aged gouda cheese, wine, and desserts with bananas; he drives a new silver toyota RAV4; he enjoys travel and cruises; he is a great gourmet cook yet likes dining out; he loves the color red; he has a fish named Frugly; he's a whiz on the computer and has breakfast on Sundays with his "computer friends"; he loves the Ciopino at Scoma's in San Francisco, getting fresh crabs at Redondo beach, and pretty much any seafood; loves kittens but hates cats; has a hot sauce collection; likes to people watch; and is very generous to those he loves.

I have fond memories of the things my dad and I have shared, such as going to the zoo on Saturdays as a child, family vacations, and him walking me down the wedding aisle, and enjoying him have a special relationship with my children.

I think I'm a lot like my dad (good and bad!), and I think I look like him (wavy hair, big eyes).
I'm thankful to have a dad who has always loved me and taken such great care of me. He always wanted the best for his 'girls' - my mom, Suzanne and I.

1 comment:

Ron said...

Sitting behind Steve today on the way to breakfast...I believe I observed 12 gray hairs...but of course maybe a recount is in order...
You have a wonderful post about a truly great guy...