It has been 10 years since the old man died and I still miss him. Although I resented him for leaving me an orphan I do my best to understand. He was always there for me and then, all of a sudden, he wasn't. Fortunately, my brother was with me so I didn't have an overwhelming feeling of being alone.
We rarely argued, but once in a while we would. At least he would listen to me even if he thought I was wrong. My opinion had some value and he always seemed to take the time to listen.
He came from nothing and did pretty well in life. He was smart and industrious, but always kind and considerate. Once in a while he would run out of patience, but not very often. He was a textile chemist at DuPont and a dye expert. At the time of his retirement he supervised about 200 people in the laboratory.
Here he is in Norway after going out fishing with his youngest brother.
Here's one from Thanksgiving about 1963 or so.
Although he played French Horn in bands as a young man he was also a good singer and often sang in church choirs. He always encouraged my brother and I in our musical endeavors. I played trombone in the school bands for about six years but the band conductor was such an asshole that I gave it up. I wanted to try guitar and he bought me a cheap one from Sears just to test the waters. I liked to try rock and roll and started playing by ear until I could play along with a few things on radio. Although, like most parents, he occasionally said, "How can you listen to that crap?" The Sears guitar was a piece of shit, but gave me a start. It fell apart after a couple of years and in 1966 he bought me a Framus twelve string that I still play fifty years later. I think I'll grab a beer from the fridge and go play it for a while.
Thanks Otto. You were everything I could have wanted in a father.