The Editor Remembers:

by Pasadena Adjacent

Fred_Jack_01Home_01

My father’s parents favored dogs. My father didn’t. He loved his second class citizen pets. At night the cats were allowed to sleep in the garage while the dogs were brought in to sleep next to the hearth. When one of the cats had kittens, my grandfather would put them in a bag and drown them. It affected my father. Puppies would have never been treated like that. Years later, I met a woman whose brother was in my father’s class. Her brother would be considered odd by anyone’s account. A poor boy, pale, badly dressed and shy; he died young from the cumulative effects of polio. But she told me something I never forgot, that although my father was well liked “popular” even, he protected her brother from being bullied at school. And her brother wasn’t the only one who could count on Fred’s protection.

My father never spoke of good deeds. He never brought up the debts owed him for money spent bailing Uncle Butch’s children out of the clutches of the law. Money waisted on children who would grow up to earn life sentences. Years later, while Butch lay dying in the Long Beach Veterans Memorial Hospital, he would not take his last breath until after his Veteran’s check came through. He wanted to pay my father back. When it did, he smiled, asked to be placed facing the ocean and died. Butch expected to be cremated; he didn’t want to be any trouble. My father used that money to buy Butch a burial plot and headstone next to his and my mother. Other family members too. When the banks wouldn’t loan my Aunt and Uncle the money they needed to leave El Monte for an Almond Farm in Modesto, my father pulled it from their savings. Or that he paid the rent on the El Monte bungalow of my mother’s mother. It was something Ramona told me after Fred was gone.

He loved cats. He passed that love onto his children. Sometimes it was the only means we had to talk to one another.

Standing Jack 1934-2009 and Sitting Fred 1932-1999

2150 Roanoke Rd San Marino California

Sycamore 1 – 7184

H

Advertisements