Sometimes I think about my father, who died about 17 years ago. He was known in his neighborhood as “Johnny Hots.” He moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was in high school. He enlisted in the Navy when he was in the 11th grade and served his country during World War II.
His obituary also says he was happiest when he kept busy. After he retired he helped with maintenance of the apartment building where he lived during his last years. He liked working crossword puzzles. He also had a pretty good sense of humor and liked to laugh.
I like working crosswords. I like to clown around and laugh. And I like to keep busy. I was never in the military although I tried to enlist. That didn’t work out.
He talked about the great time he had in Milwaukee. He said it was the best time of his life. My wife and I vacationed there a few years ago. It was fun. One of the residents interviewed for a C-L Psychiatry fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin recently. She was wondering about places to site-see so I made a little video about it for her.
He was a talented carpenter and built our kitchen cabinets. I remember struggling a little in Shop Class to make a wooden dice pencil holder. Mr. Rodomeyer, a man built like a bull, called my class the biggest bunch of characters he’d ever seen.
That was back in the days when the boys went to Shop Class and the girls went to Home Economics (Home Ec). Maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t do so well in the kitchen. Anyway, that’s what I blame it on.
However, my father was pretty handy in the kitchen and could cook up a tasty barbecued anything.
He walked everywhere and he walked more slowly as he got older. I have always walked pretty fast. I think I picked up that habit when I was a young man working for land surveyors. When I walk around the hospital and up and down the stairs, the trainees tend to lag behind me.
I didn’t see much of my father while I was growing up. We have a few things in common. I am thankful for our differences.