Prior to his death, Dad used to say
The stories I have told will die with me. No one will ever tell them again.
My sister Lindy and I did everything we could to reassure him that we would keep his stories alive and indeed that is part of what this blog is about.
Dad’s stories of his early life concerned a woman named Dora Weiss. I fervently wish that I had recorded Dad’s imitation of her voice. It was somewhere between PeeWee Herman, Minnie Mouse, and Dame Edna and she always talked in a loud voice. She was the one who would yell at my dad and his brothers
Kids, kids get in the cyclone cellar. Cyclone coming!
any time it began to rain. The fact that there are no cyclones in Minnesota never seemed to faze her. She went right on with her dire warnings. Dora is also the one who wanted to name my Aunt Bev “Tulip,” and she was the one who made home-brew and sold it to unsuspecting men who became drunk and woke up with empty billfolds.
Later Dad told funny stories of Dick Landis, a man he worked for in Chicago. Dick would address all waitresses as “Miss America” in hopes of securing a date with them. He brushed aside the offers of assistance from the men’s room attendants at the Stockyard Inn saying:
I’m not used to that kind of luxury.
The reality was that he did not want to leave a tip.
In his later years, Dick began romancing a stripper who requested that he buy her a fog machine. My dad tried to talk him out of it, but my Uncle Wayne said:
I’ve seen her. The fog machine is a good investment.
Just as Dad had stories he wanted to preserve, so do Lindy and I. I will always remember our niece Macy saying her orange juice at preschool had “dog hairs” in it when she was served orange juice with pulp. She and I recently attended a wedding together. As the bride entered, I said to Macy, “You’re next.”
Macy told me she had read that a good response to older people who said “You’re next,” at a wedding was to go to a funeral with them and say “You’re next.” That made me laugh so much, and in case you think she meant me, she did not. She meant other older people.
My niece Raquel says funny things all the time; however one story about her is more funny about her mother. On Raquel’s wedding day, Sissy was driving her to the ceremony and she was telling Sissy to hurry. Finally, Sissy turned to Raquel and said:
I don’t care if this is your wedding day. I will slap you if you do not stop telling me how to drive.
I always bring up Diana’s statements to me when we went to a movie. She was told not to ask for anything and she simply said:
Looks like I’m thirsty and looks like I’m hungry.
to get what she wanted. I think that’s pretty good thinking for a five year old.
Taylor provided many family stories whether writing a note to a librarian stating he did not have the over-due book and ending it with “Signed, Unsigned,” or ordering free religious tapes from Jerry Falwell and then recording rock music over the religious message.
Fiona is famous for “Burrito or Nothing,” which she said to us at a Mexican restaurant. Our family has had many funny experiences and it is our hope to keep some of the stories going forever. Every family has memories and it is nice when they are preserved in a story or a blog or in your heart.