Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

I made this for Dad's Memorial 1998

Blake Circa 1920  ( I think)

Blake & Geraldine Welstead May 23, 1945

Dad and Friends WWII My dad is on the left
My Mind is slipping. Typically, each year, I mark each day around this time. Today is my Dad's 90th Birthday.  I didn't realize that until the date on my web site jolted me.  
Happy Birthday Dad. 
I've spoken here about my dad and mom.. adnauseum (is that a word?).  Today, I'll only share what I consider to be one of the most remarkable things among so many remarkable things about this man.
He was born February 24, 1919 in AR.. (didn't care a lot for those AR jokes after Bill Clinton's election).  His parents were divorced shortly after he was two. His mother moved back near her family in IL or WI. His father came and took Dad and his brother for a weekend and never took them home.  Uncle Tommy went back to live with our Grand mother but my dad did not.. not for a long time. The story goes that my grandfather was a sales man (fuller brush?) and traveled all over the country. My father wanted more for his children and he and mom owned only two homes in their life together. My father was raised in the traditions of the south during the 20's and 30's and to a certain extent was a product of his up bringing. He wanted more for his children and again,  changed his ways for them. We were raised to understand that all people are equal. He wanted his children to be better than that. We were pretty shocked, in our twenties, to learn he was  a product of his upbringing.  His beliefs about race didn't really change all that much until much later in his life, and this change came from the love of his grand daughter. I remember his quiet anger once when I related a story of bigotry of a boss I had in the early 80's. In a way; we returned the favor he gave us as children; when we reached our twenties and his belief system did change.
I've always marveled at his ability to accept certain things and yet, want his kids to be better and to raise them *us* the way he did. I never really said Thanks Dad for the way you raised us.
I think he knows now how grateful his children are, to have been raised by two of the greatest, from the Greatest Generation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.


Sandy said...

Wonderful tribute to him and I love your creation! Enjoyed the photos. He sounds like he was quite a guy and happy birthday to him..hopefully he knows of this wonderful tribute you gave him.

Kathie Moore said...

Great pictures of Dad. Just a few points - I was his favorite. He liked me best of any of you. Just so you know.

Betty Flocken said...

Kathie, since it was YOU who turned his world upside down.... Not sure if this info you are adding is accurate!

Kathie Moore said...

It would not have been turned upside down for anyone but me

Rudee said...

I can imagine it was difficult to change his ways, but it's good he was able to do such a thing. Some never change, and some don't have being raised in the south as an excuse. Bigotry knows no zip cod-just like its friend Trouble. Did you ever read the book, Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz? It's one of my favorites.

Rudee said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday to your dad.

Brenda said...

Great tribute Betty! My Dad was also born in 1919 and served in WWII, and was raised in the south! I have a book called The Greatest Generation and now I need to go and find it. So thanks for reminding me.

Jose said...

Lovely story. Wow, times sure have changed. When I took my walk today I was listening to my iShuffle and the song "In Color" started playing. I really like that song a lot and so I repeated it two more times. Your pictures above just reminded me of the song again.

Julee Marie Photography said...

Happy Birthday to your DAD! Sounds like a wonderful man! Wish I could have known him!
I feel that way about my grandparents...