Two more men


This serves as an addendum to “Men”. I awoke early this morning bothered by the fact that I had left out the mention of two people who had played pivotal roles in my adult life. My father-in-law, and my step-dad.

My husband’s dad was responsible for the cohesiveness of a very large family. He was a career army man. Self-discipline was second nature for him. He became the patriarch of the family which branched into the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He took the spot of father in my life (dropping the “in-law” part) due to the fact that my bio dad was incapable of delivering anything more than just marginal in our own relationship. My husband’s dad arrived in my life in 1977 and he remained there until his passing in 2010 at the age of 93.

My step-dad made his appearance into my family in 1978. He was kind and very learned. He had worked in some area of statistics for the U.S. government that was so classified that he was unable, many years later, to speak in specifics with us. Interesting man. He had developed the knack for holding on to a great sum of money. He loved to travel and he took my mom on numerous voyages over the years. He treated my sister and I with a pleasant demeanor and he enjoyed my two boys, his “step-grandsons”. For lack of a better way to put it, but that seems so cumbersome.

Two winning men. Loved them both. Welcome additions in my life.

I now have to make a footnote.  In the last week I learned of the death of the man who assumed role as my father.  My sister called to pass the news on to me.  Hold the condolences or sympathies, his passing was not cause for sadness in me.  He had maintained a very dysfunctional relationship with me.  Actually with nearly everyone in his life.  Our interaction was always charged with the potential for him to inflict harm on me.

I could not have been more pleased to learn of the news.  He had not made contact with me in over eleven years.  In that time he had abdicated his role to my boys (his only two grandchildren), his role to my husband (his only son-in-law), and me, his oldest daughter.  His last words to me by phone, several months before his death, were unkind.  One can not miss a person who was responsible for so much discord.  I am relieved.

Way to go.


Irvine Park.  I recall what it was in its former self.  Now, I suppose, there is no assurance of its previous glory as I haven’t returned in decades.  In the 1960s and 1970s my family, and later myself independent of family, visited the park grounds.  Visitors were graced with lush greenery and the site where one could establish group picnics.  Frisbee competitions, hiking, miniature boats, and the sweet Shetlands children could ride, were all a part of the celebration at the park.  Let’s talk celebration for a moment more.  When it was my turn to scope out the best possible location for my wedding and reception, Irvine clinched it.  I knew  nothing else would do.  We had the expanse that the ranger’s residence afforded us.  This was a section not meant for the casual park visitor.  But, rather, the area set aside for the ranger to live during seasonal changes.  It included a 2 bedroom house complete with workable kitchen, baths and living space.  This became our “control central” as we awaited the caterer, the cake-lady, and I finished with hair and make-up.  Outside the house was the spacious area of green grass and mature trees that served as our wedding backdrop.  The rain had fallen two days before our ceremony (this was August — when does it ever rain in an Orange County August?!)
But the vestige of rain was literally rooted deep under the grass as we had only bright sunshine to welcome us on that day, August 20, 1977.

The ceremony and reception went off without a hitch.  I have simple tastes in this kind of thing.  Huge, sparkly adornments do not resonate with me.  My understated full-length lace dress suited me.  I had previously sketched the kind of dress I was looking for, and I found it after a ten minute stroll down Olvera Street in Los Angeles. The day was made to order.  And I look back on the park treatment of our wedding.  The minister did not have to raise his voice.  It seemed as though the public had decided to honor our day.  Thank you Irvine Park.  You delivered us a memory of natural simplicity in a setting that I claim as my own.