Today is December 6th and that means it's my Dad's 75th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad.
So first, let me share my card. I am loving the PTI technique of layering sentiment stamps to make a background paper. I did this one in masculine colors (Tim Holz distress inks) with my signature greetings set. It's not my usual style but I like it for a masculine - clean and simple card.
So, let me tell you about my dad. Growing up, everyone I knew called him Dick Leslie. The only one in the 70's who called him Richard was his mother. Once he met and married my step mother Marylu, she always called him Richard and from that point on, he became known as Richard - except to his oldest friends. Which is probably a good thing.
Isn't he a handsome gentleman?
As I recall, my dad had two speeds; fully on or fully off. He was always tinkering - in his basement shop, outside, in the garage. If he wasn't busy doing something - he was probably napping. He had many hobbies and pretty busy job. Below is a photo of our family. That's me in the pink dress and the short haircut.
When he worked in NYC he would take the bus. My sister, a neighbor girl Ann-Marie and I would go down the street to meet him at the bus drop off. On the entrance to the neighborhood there were two stone walls on the sides of the road with pillars on the edge. My sister and I would stand on the pillars and hold poses - pretending to be statues. When the bus came we would wave and walk with my Dad to the house.
Later, the office moved to Connecticut. My dad would always get me and my sister summer jobs at the office. We would drive in with Dad and we would fill in for secretaries on vacation or do odd jobs in his dept. He had a few interesting secretaries who filled my sister and I in on lots of 'grown up' things. To give you an idea, he had one secretary - I think her name was Diane and she was a hoot. She bought her work clothes at Frederick's of Hollywood and was a recent divorcee and into the nightclub scene.
As for hobbies, my dad had quite a few. First, he had a side business with his best friend Dick Klien. They had a business 'Richley Builders' and they built the house I grew up in, my grandfathers house, Dick Klien's house and several houses on Hanover street (near my Grandfathers house.) My grandfather helped out a lot. That's my grandfather Milton Leslie in the photo above working on our CT house. We would often go to the job site where they were building. I used to love to wander around and collect scrap washers. You know those little metal things? I have no idea what they were used for, but there were always lots of them around. I can still smell the fresh cut lumber for a house in progress.
My dad also liked to sail. We had a few boats but the one I remember most was the Flying Scott we kept on Candlewood Lake. We kept the boat at the Candlewood Yacht Club and every Sunday was race day. We would drive 45 minutes from our house to the Lake and hoist the sales and set out to try to win the race. My dad had my mom, my sister and I as his trusty crew. I think we were pretty incompetent. I had no love or gift of sailing. My main role was to help hoist the spinnaker (that never seemed to go well) or stand in low wind and hold the main sail out so it didn't bounce around. We had a lot of laughs and tears on that boat. I have no idea how many races we won. I know we have a few trophies at home, but my main memory is lying on the bow of the boat, working on my tan and thinking about when the race was done and which boys I would see at the docks. Again, I had no love or gift for sailing!
Below is a photo at my wedding. Candlewood lake is in the background.
When my sister and I were younger - my Dad's hobby was race car driving. We were infants and toddlers when my mom and Dad would participate in Gymkhana's. I don't really know what that is, but I think it involved a sort of treasure hunt/race with clues. I remember one of the clues was 'not easy Parcheesi' and the road they were to take was 'hard scrabble.' In the winter we went to Icekhana's. I think they just raced the cars around pylons on a frozen lake. I remember spending hours in an Italian Restaurant playing with sugar packets or other stuff under the round tables. One memory of those days was when my Dad flipped his car in the race. Everyone laughed when Kathie and I didn't understand the danger. Kathie asked the gasping crowd who was worried for my dad's safety 'does daddy get a re-run?' My mom also participated in all these races. She was pretty good. She won the ladies tri-state champ for one of the races. That was the best of NY/NJ/CT. Pretty impressive. I don't remember what fancy titles my dad won, but we had LOTS of trophies in our house from the car racing.
Another hobby of my dad's was skiing. Every winter we would take a 1 week winter vacation to VT. Our favorite places to go were Killington and Mount Snow. Now that was a hobby I adored and was good at. I loved to ski FAST and WILD. My dad would sharpen our edges and wax our ski's for us and we would go out in ANY weather. I remember a few times skiing in the rain with a garbage bag over my coat. My mom wasn't a fan of skiing in any weather, but I loved it. No lines for the lift and nice soft snow for carving.
I have fond memories of my dad growing up. I remember sitting in his lap and hearing the sound of his voice and laugh from his chest where my head rested. I remember him inspecting my room and trying (not very successfully) to instill a sense of order and cleanliness in me. Some things truly are a hopeless cause - ask my husband. I remember Saturday work days where all of us would go out together to rake the leaves or other yard work. As we got close to the end of the job he would let me go inside and he'd spend an extra 30 minutes or so cleaning up.
He and my Mom used to host dinner parties a lot. The menu? Whiskey sours, London broil, baked potatoes and flaming cherries jubilee for dessert - maybe a salad. Remember, it was the 70's and no-one was talking about cholesterol. I loved getting a 'virgin' whiskey sour in a fancy glass and I was always impressed with the high flames they would get on the cherries jubilee by pouring brandy on top of the cherries and ice cream and then lighting it! Yum... maybe we'll try that for our New Year's Dinner.
He always encouraged me in my education and paid for my full tuition and room and board to attend his Alma-mater Clarkson. He encouraged me to get an education that would provide a specific skill - like business or engineering and not just an education for the love of learning. I appreciate that because that was the right thing for me. He instilled a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. Growing up I felt I could do or be anything I wanted to be. My dad taught me that hard work and persistent would help me achieve my goal.
Dad, I don't say it often enough, but I love you and appreciate everything you did for me growing up. Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by today and getting to know a little about my awesome dad.