Stories of my dad

Want to know to something about your dad, talk to his friends. 

It was at his funeral… a very sad older Japanese man I didn’t know, knew who I was, came up to me and just said, “Your dad was my first friend.”  He went on to tell me when he came to America from Japan as a young boy, his first day at school in Sacramento, Ca, he felt alone and no one talked to him… except a very popular boy… my dad, Bill. 

He quickly became his friend and hung out with him, his name is Akido.  This continued and during WWII when Akido’s whole family was put in an interment camp in Sacramento, my dad, still in his teens, went to visit them in the camp.  Later, he helped them build a baseball field and played baseball, most times the only anglo in the camp! 

In high school my dad was an athlete going on to become All State in track (sprinter), baseball (his main sport), and football, usually scoring many touchdowns per game.  As a senior he met my mom and joined the Navy in the Pacific as a signalman and 40mm cannon operator on a US Destroyer.

Part owner of the only hardware store in the town of Fairfield, Ca meant he knew almost everyone in the area.  One time when I was in my early teens he took me to the grocery store we always went to, Food Fair.  Before we got in the store he saw someone he knew and they talked for a bit, then he saw another and another, this went on for probably an hour, I just went back in the car!  It was like he knew everyone and they all liked him and had to talk with him.

My dad played baseball at the local field when I was still pretty young.  He also bowled and had trophies everywhere.  He moved to golf and also played that well, this came in handy when my dad became head buyer for Ace Hardware for the 11 western states, this meant many manufacturers and corporate were taking him golfing!  My parents also began going on many trips around the US.

He went on to own an Ace Hardware in Vallejo, Ca for about 20 years.  He and his crew, including my uncle, knew everything about hardware and could explain how to fix most anything!  My mom was a super organized office manager; it was a perfect match for business!

There were many, many times if a person couldn’t fit what they bought in their car to get it home, they put it on my dad’s truck and he delivered it himself, no charge!  That Toyota truck had over 500,000 miles on it with only regular maintenance!  Note:Yes, the prime Zodiac suspect worked for my mom and dad for a few years, I had met him also.

This only scratches the surface of who my dad was and still means to all of us who loved him!  Besides a true, real friend to so many, he served others with joy, he stored treasures in heaven.  His legacy is for us to follow in his footsteps, although an impossible task, we’ll do our best. 

The week he died we still went to So Cal and started our adoption.  It was only several months after he died my sister and her husband had two amazing new members come into her family, ages 4 and 5, brother and sister, now happy and in their teens.  About 16 months after we started our adoption, we got the most amazing girl, 1 day old, 10 years old today, she and the girl my sister adopted share the same birthday!  We all feel my dad in there!

Words like integrity, honor, commitment, true friend come to mind, from the Greatest Generation, these people are becoming more rare, we must try, we must keep our hearts good and pure despite the world, it’s challenging, but focus on the good while acknowledging the bad. 

Lastly, I didn’t realize this was a magical time.  A book could be written about my dad.  God knows, I am truly Thankful.  I will not ever forget, and yes, these times for us are also magical!  Till next time, God Bless,

~Gary

kirchmeister5@gmail.com

ximorocks.com/kirch

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