Dad, what is one of your favorite memories of being a dad?
Mother delighted me with reading stories as a child, and I was eager to continue this with Corina and Chad. Linda or I read to the children almost every night. I enjoyed discovering new authors of that time, such as Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss and many more. I loved this close, shared enjoyment, especially at bedtime.
I dreamed a lot about doing outdoor recreation as a family, including rugged things like hiking and backpacking. To this end I studied the REI catalogs incessantly and bought lightweight gear, even a miniature backpack and sleeping bags for kids. On September 28, 1975, when Linda was on a women’s retreat, Corina, Chad and I drove out past Estacada and backpacked three miles to Serene Lake. Chad was only two and needed to ride on top of my backpack. Corina was easily able to walk the trail, but was frightened by the dense forest and gathering dusk. I probably said, “It’s just a little ways further” twenty-five times to coax her onward. What a relief to finally arrive at the lake, and I started a fire and set up the tent. Then I had two warm and happy campers who played in the tent while I heated a backpacker style dinner.
In reality, most of our outdoor recreation took place in the city and at the beaches in Lincoln City and Cannon Beach. Corina, Chad and Linda were all enthusiastic beach walkers, surf waders, and sand sculptors. Grammee Thelma loved the beach so much that she often rented an apartment for a whole season, giving us another reason to visit the beach more often. Trips to the beach usually involved staying indoors at a motel or cabin since the Oregon Coast is often too windy, wet and cold for outdoor camping.
I was enamored with science fiction from childhood reading. In 1977, the first of the Star Wars space opera movies opened. These movies were instantly popular and I wanted to see them right away, on opening night if possible. I believe that the whole family went for the original Star Wars, and that Linda and Corina’s interest quickly waned. Chad and I became steadfast Star Wars moviegoers. Chad also became a collector of Star Wars toys; I quietly encouraging his collection on gift-giving occasions. He created a memorable Luke Skywalker costume from a dad-sized t-shirt, waist band, and plastic light saber.