Today would have been my dad’s 100th birthday. Well, it would have been had he acknowledged his age. Even to the end of his life – and it was a long one – he fibbed about his age. The stereotype that is shared about a women not giving her real age…well, my dad must have misread the fine print and thought that “fact” was meant for him.
|Pete Martinez @ Solheim Lutheran Home, James Grimes
An illustrative story from my dad’s 90th year – Alzheimer’s, or some other sort of dementia, is well settled as a part of his being, vision is impaired, hearing – pretty much non-functional.
Roberta driving, Pete in passenger seat, James in rear passenger seat.
Setting – Western expanses of the San Fernando Valley, gas stations and mini malls abound.
Roberta – at the top of her voice, “Dad, you’re going to have a birthday soon”.
Pete – “hmmph”.
Roberta – at the top her lungs, “Do you know how old you’ll be?”
Pete – shrugs, “hmrrph”.
James – quietly giggles in back seat
Roberta – at the top of those same lungs, “You’ll be 90!”
Pete – quite distinctly, “No I won’t”.
Roberta – at lung level, smiling, “Yes, you will”.
Pete – , “hmrph”.
Roberta – still driving, “How old do you think you are?”
Pete – without hesitation, “78”.
Laughter fills the car from both back and front seats.
Roberta – driving on, “How old would you like to be ?”
Pete – grand pause, followed by petite pause, “28”.
And on we drove.
My dad was the youngest of 12 children; a high school drop out who found his way thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Army Air Force. He happily shared stories about his experience in both groups. James and I heard these stories and the stories he shared from his nearly 38 years of work at Sears, Roebuck. His experiences in these groups helped form his sense of self and he knew it.
The pictures below are undated and and I have no idea who took the pictures, but it looks like my dad is fairly close to 28.
Some things are not coincidental.