Monday, January 7, 2013


When I was seven years old all I wanted was a playhouse. We lived on a acre of land and I envisioned my own little house out back, complete with a front door and windows with curtains and a flower bed. I asked for it frequently and don't recall what kind of reaction my request got, but I do remember the surprise I got upon arriving home on one of the last days of the school year.

I got off the bus at my neighbor's house and walked over to my house via the backyard. As I crossed over the property line I noticed a big wooden board hanging from one of the trees in the far corner of our yard. As I got closer my dad looked down at me from up on a ladder and said "Look - I'm finally building that tree house you've been asking for!"

Um... yeah.

But I knew even at that young age not to complain and not to point out that a tree house was not really at all what I asked for. I just went with it.

And within a few weeks I had my own getaway in the back yard. Complete with trap door to enter, a big barrel as my table and another cut in half as my two chairs. My dad also built a slide as a second exit, but we never quite got the right material on it so you could actually, ya know, slide.

My friends and I were frequent visitors to that tree house for years. It was even where I ran away to several years later, packing up a bag of books, my pillow and some apples when I was mad about being grounded for something. I stayed all day, until my mom came outside and yelled out that my dad would be home soon. Then I promptly packed up and returned to my room before he got home.


Every summer when I was a kid we'd spend a week in Ocean City. We rented the same condo, on the bayside at 26th street. There was a dock there that we went crabbing from, and it was on a little inlet, putting it a good distance from the main boating lanes of the bay. The summer when I was 11 I had one of those little inflatable boats to take into the ocean with me. It even came with two oars, so one day during our week my dad suggested I try it out in the bay.  

Let's just say it didn't go well. I had a really hard time getting the whole rowing thing down and could not get myself back to the dock. I went in circles a lot. And then when it seemed like I finally mastered a motion other than circular, it was out towards that main boating channel. OK, so it was probably actually the tide pulling me out, but either way, it was not good. My dad kept calling out instructions from the dock. Telling me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. It didn't work. I was drifting further and further away. So then he dove off the dock, swam out to me and pulled me back in. 

I thought my days of boating in the bay were over, but then next morning by the time I woke up my dad had already been out to get coffee and made a quick stop at the hardware store, where he bought rope. A long, long rope. 

He tied one end to my little rubber boat and the other to the dock and sent me back out into the water. I have no idea how long the rope was, but it definitely gave me plenty of room to play around in the boat, attempt to improve my rowing skills and still be reeled back in when I failed miserably. 


When I graduated from high school two of my best friends and I decided we didn't want to go to the beach for senior week, we wanted to go to New York City. We saved up lots of money, picked out the shows we wanted to go to and sights we wanted to see, got our Trip Tik from AAA and hit the road for the 4 hour drive north. 

My dad was NOT happy about this trip. I know he would have much rather me have gone to the beach since he knew the drinking and partying typical of senior week wasn't my thing. I don't actually remember how my mom and I got him to agree that I could go, but, he did. 

We made it to just outside of Philly with no problems. Then, well, there was a big, big problem. 

My car broke down. On I-95. On the shoulder of the fast lane. 

It was bad. So very bad. I called AAA and was waiting for them to show up when of course, my dad called to check on our progress. I had planned to call after the car was towed and I had a clue what was going on. I could feel his stress and worry through the phone, though he was trying to remain calm.   

Then, things got worse. The AAA tow truck never showed. They claimed the car was abandoned when they got there. It wasn't. Multiple police cars went by us, never stopping to see if we were ok, despite the hazards on and "Send Help" sign in the window (it was the bag the Trip Tik came in - thanks AAA), and we finally flagged down another tow truck. 

Who towed us to a lovely neighborhood in South Philly where we learned that a rod from the piston when through the oil pan, draining all of the oil and killing my engine. The day was dragging on and by the time we got this news it was about 2 hours til the garage's closing time. My dad talked to the mechanic who said we could stay there until they closed and then we could wait on the steps. 

Needless to say he drove quickly, making his way to Philly to get us. I was convinced he'd be taking us home. But he didn't. He drove us the rest of the way to NYC, made sure we got checked in to our hotel and then turned around and drove home. 

He may not have been happy with my choice, but he supported it anyway. 


Happy Birthday Daddy. I miss you every single day and will never forget all that you did for me. 


  1. what a good post. Thinking about you today! love you

  2. Whenever I think of your dad, I think of that time your car broke down and he rescued us from that sketchy Philly neighborhood. What an awesome thing he did driving us all the way to NYC only to drop us off, turn around and head back home (especially when he didn't want you to go in the first place).