Sep 3, 2010

Things that remind me of my dad: the '80s

My parents and sister are coming to visit for the long holiday weekend, and I thought this would be a great day to finish up my series of "Things that remind me of ..." with an installment about my dad.

I searched and searched for an image of the chewing game named "Chaw," but I couldn't find it anywhere. I had to settle for Big Leagure Chew, but it's not as fun because it's still around. When Dad would go on business trips when we were little, he'd bring us each back a can of Chaw chewing gum. WE WEREN'T REDNECK AT ALL. Dad certainly didn't do chaw, but we thought that can of gum was SO cool. The gum inside was sort of pulverized, not shredded like Big League or rolled like Bubble Gum Tape.

The next "Dad" item on my list was his late '70s VW Bug. It looked almost identical to the one below, with the round taillights instead of the more popular oval ones. He'd just had it repainted and (I think) a new stereo system installed when it was stolen out of a mall parking lot in 1981.

We replaced it with a 1981 Honda Accord hatchback, which ultimately became my car when I turned 16. This was the car I learned to drive on, and the feature I remember the most, ironically, was the black felt padded coin drawer to the left of the steering wheel. I would also be able to pick that 5-speed gear shifter out of a lineup of 100 cars at 20 paces.

When we lived in Marietta and I was in 3rd and 4th grades, Dad, Sarah Ellen and I signed up for the YMCA's organization Indian Princesses. It was sort of like Cub Scouts but for men and their daughters instead of men and their sons. We went on camping trips and did crafts, and attended monthly meetings at other families' houses. Dad was Big Bear, I was Little Bear and Sarah Ellen was Bear Cub. WE WERE VERY ORIGINAL.

Dad was in the Navy and Naval Reserves for many years, and seeing pictures or media footage of nuclear subs always reminds me of him.

As a civilian, his career was focused on the nuclear power safety industry, so every time I see cooling towers, I think of my dad and all the various plants that he was charged with keeping safe.

When we lived on the coast of North Carolina, we saw this guy a lot: Reddy Kilowatt. He was the mascot of Carolina Power & Light (I think). We had stickers, T-shirts, etc., featuring his likeness.

I get my unhealthy obsession of love of photography from my dad. He's always been an avid photographer, and when we were growing up, we spent many a night camped out in the den or living room with a white screen in front of us, slide projector whirring away in the background. We watched ourselves grow up on that screen, and right now as I type this, I can hear the slides chick-kachinking from one to the next.

When we weren't watching slideshows, you might well have found us on the floor playing Rummy to the sounds of Jimmy Buffett or Gordon Lightfoot.

Lastly, growing up in the (relative) country, my dad spent a lot of his after-school and weekend time hunting arrowheads. He was pretty successful at it, and he still has a collection of them today.

I don't know if you have similar memories of your own childhood, your siblings, your mom or your dad, but thanks for indulging me over the past few weeks as I've revisited some really happy memories of my own!


René said...

Have a great weekend with your family Katherine. My husband was driving that little Honda, same color, when I met him. He still talks about that thing. Loved it.


Shelby Baker said...

I'm sad to find out that this will be the last ''reminder'' post.. I enjoyed them! :)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Rene, That's so funny! We have so many great memories in that car. When my dad finally parted with it (in 2000), we all mourned a little bit.

Shelby, I didn't know people were paying that much attention! ;) I'm glad you liked them. I'm not saying I won't post something else if the mood strikes ... just that I don't have plans for another post next week or anything. I'm glad you enjoyed these!

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