Sunday, June 07, 2009

Memories Of Dad

The week flew by and I was not able to work on the planned memorial tribute to Dad, Frank Robinson, who died at the age of 64 - 25 years ago today. But my brother David sent me the following wonderful memories, some of which are different from mine (mostly car stuff), so that's a start. This November would have been Dad's 90th birthday, so I invite all of you who knew him to send me your memories or photos for posting here, and I will put together a tribute to his life. Thanks, David, for getting the ball rolling on this.

Dinner time:
I remember many times being near the house when Dad got home from work. We all knew about what time it would be and when he got home, we always ate. Sometimes in the fall he would throw the football around with us for a while. Sometimes he’d haul off and kick the thing as hard as he could. It would go as high as the tallest tree across the street in Liesdons yard. It looked like it went out of sight, but it was probably 40 ft or so.

Changing tires:
Many, many times when Dad needed to change tires on a car, we would change them ourselves. We would take the wheels off, remove the tires with a bumper jack and a tire iron and then put the other tires back on the rim with tire irons and soap.

Early 1977:
When I was close to graduating from St Paul Vo-Tech (as it was called at the time) I was looking for a job to use my training. Dad mentioned several times how I should apply at the Highway dept. because the pay and benefits were so good. I do not think I realized how much of a compliment that was that he wanted me to work at the same company as him.

Cars Dad owned (Primary transportation)
1917 Chev touring. (his first car)
1934 Ford Fordor. (Stan and Dad)
1936 Ford (so he told me, never saw any pictures of this)
1941 Ford
1949 Ford 2 door convert, Blue
1952 Ford
1957 Ford 4 door, Blue and white
1961 Ford 4 door ,Tan (Sold this one to Lenny Haverberg)
1965 Chev wagon, Blue
1969 Chev wagon, Blue
1974 Ford Gran Torino, Yellow
1979 Mercury Monarch, Silver ( Dad Sold this one to Dick VanBramer)
1983 Mercury Marquis, Blue-green, (Mom sold this one to Cheryl in 1995)
(special interest cars)
1941 Plymouth Business coupe, 6 cylinder flathead
1960 Chev Impala, Convert, Baby Blue
1960 Chev Impala, 2 door, white, 348 powerglide, (Sold to Craig)
1961 Ford Galaxy Starliner, Black, 352 automatic. (Mom still owns this one)
1963 Mercury Meteor. 260 V8
1965 Ford Thunderbird (sold to Cheryl in 1977) [added by me, Cheryl]
1977 Chev 1/2 ton pickup, Sierra Classic, brown and white (sold to me)
1981 Ford 1/2 ton pickup, bought from Don Leisdon and had for a short time.

Memories of Dad.

He would always be whistling or singing. He had a fantastic singing voice. He sang the first few lines of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” or those kind of songs. I don’t believe he ever finished any of the songs though.

He stated several times that he wished he had a Mac Truck so he could run over some of the crazy drivers on the road.

He loved to watch sports even though the rest of us were generally not interested. As I remember, he liked football and Indy car racing mainly

Special words he liked to use:
· Slumgullium: used to describe food when he didn’t know what it was.
· Dinky Donk: use to describe a fool or an idiot.
· He would say “Ioway” for Iowa
· Tee’d off
· Felt like the “wreck of the Hesperus”
· “Pardon my French” meaning “sorry for swearing”

He would exclaim how “that sounds too much like fun” when he didn’t really want to do something.

He always liked cats, he was the main reason we had cats at all.

He mentioned several times how all the guys at work complained because they could never take off 2 weeks every year like we did for a vacation. We were only able to because he was able to budget his vacation time and money so it would work.

Guys dad used to work with: Emil Tulke, Matt Lang,

He read the paper a lot and always complained about how things were being done in government. The rest of the family did not really get into that so he really had no one to argue with about his ideas. When we visited with the Roes, he would always argue with Walt about the US vs Canada. Even though Walt was originally from the US, always defended Canada to the bitter end.

Dad had a bad knee that he had since WW2. They were playing baseball and some guy threw a block into him to knock him off the base he was at. This messed his knee up pretty bad and forever after that, if he twisted wrong or moved wrong it would “come out” of joint. When this happened he could not stand on it at all. Mom got pretty good at pulling and twisting it back into position while Dad braced himself against something and grimaced.

Dad was always looking at cars. He was either figuring out what car to buy next or he was going to dealers to get the best deal. I remember going to dealers with him and eating hot dogs and mixing up my own special soft drink from what was available. They just put the dispenser out there and let you pour your own, even if you were just a kid.

In WW2 he said he was in the intelligence library first in the states and then he was shipped to the Burma-China-India theater to serve there. He was on the flight crew on the ground when planes came in. He never really talked about that too much. I guess I assumed he saw some pretty bad crashes or shot up solders during his time.

6/6/09 Now, long after he has been gone several people remind me of him and I wonder if he modeled himself after these people. Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Axle Torgerson.

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