Today, (February 17) would have been my dad’s 92nd birthday. I can hardly believe he’s been gone over 20 years. Seems like yesterday I last heard his voice, saw his face. Time assuages grief, but rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of something I would like to talk to him about.
He was reserved and shy to those he did not know well, but at home there was lots of conversation about so many things. I suppose that is what I miss most. Discussing books, politics, religion—so many things he was interested in.
He was born in 1922 to young parents who did not belong together. His mother was loving and faithful, but his young father (barely 20 years old) was not up to fatherhood and left to seek employment in Utah. He did not see his son until he was almost three years old. There little interest shown and the resulting pain of indifference and broken promises. I’ll never forget my dad telling me of the time when he realized that the dad he had idealized in his childish mind, did not exist. My grandfather had come to his hometown for a visit from NYC where he was working at the Times. My dad who was ten years old, admired a boy riding on a fancy English bike. “So you would like one of those?” his dad asked. “Just wait until I get back to NYC—I will send you one right away.” Of course he waited expectantly for the bike that never came.
Some folks follow in the footsteps of a negligent or abusive parent, but to my dad’s credit, he determined that he would be a faithful husband and family man—everything his own father was not. Of course, it’s so easy to gloss over imperfections and as “C” reminds me those who have passed on suddenly become saints. My dad was beloved, but he had his faults. There was a simmering rage at being rejected that I have seen in everyone I’ve known who has been rejected by a parent. Sometimes it spilled over at home—usually directed at me!
I wrote about my dad a few years ago in a post titled He Was Unwanted. A reminder to me that every life has a purpose and should be celebrated. So on February 17, each year my mother would bake daddy’s favorite cake –Pineapple Refrigerator Cake—a vintage recipe from the fifties that she got from our neighbor, Betty, who was the perfect homemaker. Her house was immaculate and she made dessert every night! This cake would be perfect for Easter dessert and I am going to make it this year. A tender yellow cake split into layers with a luscious lemon pineapple custard filling and frosted with fresh whipped cream! Yummmmy!
Here’s the vintage recipe from a Spry shortening booklet at www. food.com recipe 41821 pineapple refrigerator cake
Hope you will try it!