Friday, January 11, 2013

January 10, 1978 and January 10, 2013

(I will post my regular daily blog entry about January 10th, Day 14 a little later today, but this had to come first.)

January 10, 1978 my father, Arthur Ray (Art) passed on too early....he was only 54.  January 10, 1985 my daughter, Sharon Suzanne, was born exactly 7 years to the day later.  Today is the 35th anniversary of my father's passing.  I was 28 the day my Dad passed, and today my lovely Sharon Suzanne is 28.  On this day I'm reminded of a refrain from a 1960's Byrds song called "My Back Pages"......"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...."

TLE, me and my father - around 1971

Sharon Suzanne

My father never had the pleasure of meeting Sharon, or any of our four children born after his death, but I know he would be just as amazed by them as we are.   My father was an "only" child.  He and my mother had five children together, me being the first born.  I remember so poignantly a moment in time just a few months before my father died.  I was sitting by his bedside at Loma Linda Hospital where he was recovering from an operation.  I was sitting by his bedside visiting with him.....he turned to me and said "Clarke, I am so glad I had five children".....I asked "Why is that?"....he replied......"Because no matter what will happen in my life I will know there are always five people who love me".  To this day, 35+ years later when I think of that moment my eyes tear up, just as they are right now.

Every year when Sharon's birthday comes around I remember that day in the hospital, and am so thankful for our five children, because now I know what he meant.

Art was a bigger than life kind of guy.  He was a man's man.....a charismatic, gregarious man.  He was not a cliquish kind of guy.....he was not a respecter of titles, or positions, or rank......he loved everyone, and found something interesting in everyone......and everyone loved him.  We had intended to have a small funeral, and I called a few people I knew would want to be there.....there was no formal announcement......but at his funeral 100's of people showed up for the memorial service and internment.  It was only then that I understood what kind of a man my father really was, and how "rich" he was in friends.  It was then that I understood I was not the only one who knew what a great guy my Dad was.

My father taught me how to love life and people, and it is from him that my love of the outdoors and traveling came.  I know he would love to have lived the life we are living today, and that he would be right there cheering us on.  He was young at heart....he loved music....he loved Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett......and, of course, Neil Diamond.  He introduced me to Lake Tahoe in 1953, or 1954.  Every time we go back to Lake Tahoe, and we have been dozens of times over the years, I feel like I have "come home".

Meeks Bay - Lake Tahoe

My Dad and I at Lake Tahoe in 1956 - Incline Beach

Above, my Dad and I at Incline Beach - Lake Tahoe circa 1956.....steaks on the BBQ and probably a Martini in his hand.

RIP Dad, and Happy Birthday Sharon Suzanne!!!!


  1. That's so beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing.

  2. clarke. your story about your dad was very powerful and touching. you too are an amazing fellow.



  3. Cherie and Tom, thank you for your sweet, thoughtful comments.

  4. I wish I would have seen this sooner. I actually went to your blog on my birthday, but you must have posted this after. I love hearing about Grandpa and wish I could have met him. The weirdest thing about me being born on January 10th is the fact that I wasn't supposed to born until almost 2 months later...spooky. Thank you for sharing this dad. I know Grandpa would be so proud of the father you are and the wonderful experiences you have given us. Tahoe was always my favorite vacation spot growing up and I still love it now. I love you so much and miss you and mom everyday!! Xoxo <3!!

    1. Sharon, my Bunny, you know how to touch your Daddy's heart....thank you.

  5. Clarke, I remember your dad well, and he was, as you say, bigger than life and loved by all who knew him.

  6. Wow! Very moving. Especially in light of the fact that I just recently made the decision to cancel three weeks of work out here on the road in order to go home and spend time with my dad during and after surgery for cancer. It reinforces my decision. I only have one Dad.

    Thanks for the emotional tribute to your Dad.



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