After Dad returned from World War II, he married my mother and in short order, they had me. Dad was an eighth grade drop-out with time on the GI Bill. He tried washing repair school, television repair school, and auto mechanics school and he dropped out of all of them. At the auto school, he opened a radiator while a car was on a hoist and lots of disgusting brown gunk fell in his face. He walked out without telling anyone and never went back.
Finally a man at the VA told Dad he would only fund more of his educational endeavors if he were tested and agreed to follow the recommendations of the test. Dad agreed and the aptitude test said he should be either a college professor or an attorney. Dad said he had always wanted to be an attorney, but with only five years on the GI Bill, it seemed like a hopeless wish.
The person at the VA said, “Look, you can go to Tilden Tech and complete high school as quickly as you are able to. Then you will have two years for college and two years for law school.” For some reason (perhaps the thought of no financial help) my dad agreed. He sailed through the high school courses, entered college at the University of Chicago, and managed to work full-time to support his wife and daughters.
When Dad finished college, his Aunt Bonnie came for his graduation. Aunt Bonnie was married to Uncle Frank and they were prosperous farmers. Aunt Bonnie said, “I will pay your way through medical school, but I won’t give a plug nickel for a lawyer.” My dad said she kept her word and never paid one cent to help him.
Accordingly, Dad could not afford a car. He had a bicycle which he used to get to work, classes and to transport Lindy and me to the beach. One morning, while Dad was shaving, he looked out the bathroom window and saw someone stealing his bike. Dad took off after him with bare feet and shaving cream on his face. He ran as fast as he could across the Midway and finally caught up with the thief at a red light. “Get off my bike,” Dad said. “I don’t have a bike,” the crook replied. “Look, I don’t even have shoes,” Dad yelled. And with that Dad got back his bike and the thief walked away. Dad rode back to the cheers of all the neighbor children.
Dad never gave up and he taught Lindy and me to do the same.