Golden Gate Park. 1948 or 1949. I look about three.
I have a little folder called Writings. When I remember something special, I write a little about it, so my family can "remember" it also. Here is one I wrote about Daddy.
This is titled "How To Ride A Bike".
I lived in a 3 bedroom condo in the ‘90’s. One day after Christmas I saw a neighbor teaching his son to ride a 2-wheeler. The father was leaning against the fence smoking a cigarette and periodically yelling at the child. “I told you to keep it straight!!” “I told you to………”
I suddenly remembered learning to ride my own 2 wheeler. It wasn’t after Christmas, like my neighbor, because I used the training wheels for a long time. One sunny weekend afternoon I asked my father if he would take them off for me.
We lived on California Street in San Francisco where it is a broad 4 lane boulevard with fast traffic so I rode only on the wide sidewalks. (I love wide sidewalks.)
After Russell took the trainers off, he held his hands on the steering wheel to balance me and we went up and down the street in front of our house. We did this again and again and again quietly.
I finally got so discouraged, I said “I’m never going to get this.”
Russell said: “Teddy Bear, you’ve been doing this yourself for quite awhile now.
So we went up and down the street once more while he held his hands just a fraction above the bars so I could see he could catch me.
“You can go back inside now, Daddy! I am going to ride around the block!”
I rode around and around. It felt sooo good.
I knew Russell was watching from the front room window and ready to come rescue me if anything happened. He was also counting minutes to make sure I showed up “on time” from my trip around the block. I knew that was what Daddys did.
I never once said "Thank You Daddy". I took this day and so many others for granted. I had no idea that other kids were having much different kinds of days. I thought other kids all had days like mine.
Was Russell a teacher? Yes and No. He was a frustrated artist (another story) who was also a carpenter craftsman and building contractor. He was also my quiet patient teacher. I realized, long after he passed on, that he is still teaching me. Thank you Daddy. Thank you Russell.
NDO, January 2009