First, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well that was involved in the devastation that was Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully, things will get better soon. You are all in my thoughts.
This is my dad. The occasion was Tami and Tim's wedding, September 13, 1986. He was 74 years old. He was always a hard worker and he worked with his hands, but he sure cleaned up nicely!
Today would have been my dad's 100th birthday. I can't believe I am saying this. It seems like such a short time ago that he was the age that I am now, not yet retired, full of energy and vitality.
Here Dad is pictured with his Aunt Elsie at approximately 4 years old. Really love those shoes.
Dad always had a dog at his side. I guess these two were hunting companions. He probably was around the age of 15.
Dad was born in Soquel, California, in a log house built by his father, on November 1, 1912. The original house burned down in 1945. At that time, he and my grandfather, built another home on the same property. He spent all but the last few years of his life within a two mile radius of his birth place.
In March, 1919, at the age of 6, my grandmother got him all dressed up to receive company. Against her wishes he got his outfit dirty so she put him in one of his sister's dresses and he had to meet the company in humiliation.. Again, love the shoes.
This was his graduation picture in his high school yearbook. He was 18 years old.
He attended Mountain Elementary School through the 8th grade, where his father before him had attended and where my sister, brother and myself also graduated. He graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1930.
This is my mom and dad as young newlyweds. My mom described her suit as a dark blue silk.
My parents met during a Saturday night dance at the Cocanut Grove on the Beach/Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. They married in 1938. They both loved dancing and were quite accomplished ballroom dancers. They would have given Fred and Ginger a run for their money. My dad had a beautiful voice also and you could usually hear him singing along as he worked.
My folks were great party goers. They had a lot of friends and there was always a costume party to attend. My mom made all their costumes and she had a very fanciful imagination. Here they are pictured dressed for Hawaii but they had been peacocks and cowgirl and cowboy and once, along with another couple, a gorilla family. At one point in time I remember pictures but I don't know where they are now.
He was a wonderful dad to myself; sister, Sidney; and brother, Bruce. We were around the ages of 10, 5 and 2 when this picture was taken. I don't remember the picture being taken but I can remember the colors in our clothing. My dress was yellow with a brown collar and sash, Sid's was pink and grey striped, and Bruce's little suit was blue. How could I not remember the occasion but the details? Go figure.
Here Dad is installing the kitchen cabinets he built for our Cottage.
Dad was a master craftsman, a real DIY kind of man. He was a cabinet maker by profession and a technical illustrator. He set up and ran his own sawmill for many years and he was a self-taught artist. He never went to college, everything he knew he taught himself. He built an observatory on his property. The roof rotated and opened so that he could see the stars, which had always been such a great interest to him, with his telescope. He was always reading a book that would teach him something new.
His proudest achievement, other than his family, was the building of his and my mom's last home from the ground up.
My dad surveys his kingdom from the deck of the home he built for my mom. Off to the right side of this picture was where he built his observatory. You can see where the view would be perfect for star gazing.
He had built the house my sister, brother and myself grew up in but after we kids had moved on, they sold that home. They bought a piece of property on a hill and he built their dream house there. He did everything by himself from digging the well and septic system to fabricating and installing the tin roof. The kitchen cabinets he made from an old black walnut tree that had grown on his parent's property. He cut the tree down and milled the wood when he ran his sawmill.
A picture of Dad, in his sailor suit, probably around the age of 5 in 1917. When Jake was born, the first thing Dad did was buy him a sailor suit. He said every little boy should have one. I guess this is where he got the idea.
Dad had a wonderful sense of humor. He was always telling jokes, which sometimes were funny and sometimes just plain corny. He would usually be the one laughing the loudest while my mom rolled her eyes. Sometimes he would get such a fit of the giggles that he couldn't even finish the joke, but he never failed to get anyone who would listen to laugh along with him. At one point my sister and I tried to pin him down, with a tape recorder, about some of his life's achievements. He would start telling something and then we would all break out in laughter, so we never did get anything significant.
Looking back maybe what we did get was the most important thing of all. Knowing that he lived life, simply and wisely, and through hard work and the ability to laugh at himself, I think he lived it quite well.
Dad drew this charcoal sketch of himself, while standing in front of a mirror, at the age of 21.
Photo of sketch sent to me courtesy of my nephew, Todd.
Dad was a kind and gentle man, a true 'gentleman' of the Old School. He never failed to remove his hat in the presence of a lady, open a car door for her or hold her arm while crossing the street, whether it be his wife, a stranger, or one of his daughters.
Great-grandpa with Jake and Santa
I remember Dad as always healthy and I got such a secure feeling about that throughout most of my life, that his strength would always be there. However, in the last few years of his life, he was afflicted with Parkinson's disease and it was hard to see the change in him. He lived in their home eighteen years after my mom passed away but he finally had to leave it. He moved to Fresno to be closer to my brother.
My dad passed away at the age of 89 but the memories of him are still so strong and he lives on in his children (3), his grandchildren (6), and great-grandchildren (6).
He was already starting his career of woodworking at the age of 14. Here he is with his dog, Brownie, and the wagon he built.
Happy Birthday, Dad. You are loved and admired by your family and friends and no man could leave a better legacy than that....Judy
Daughter, Judy Allred Neumann
Granddaughter, Tami Neumann McConnell
Great-grandson, Jacob McConnell
I hope I haven't bored you with this story. I hadn't meant to write a 'book' but 100 years is a long time and deserves a bit of acknowledgement. If you enjoyed the old pictures, you might be interested in a post written by my nephew, Todd Allred. He is an excellent writer, which is his profession, and there are more old pictures that I didn't have and stories to go with them. You can find him here
I'm sharing today with: