Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Uncle David and Granddad England

Its hot, Hot, HOT outside, so I thought I'd share some pictures of two of my favorite people, both who've sadly passed away.

This picture was taken of Uncle David by my Aunt June, who is a talented photographer and poet. Even though his face is not discernible, this picture says a lot about him. He absolutely loved the outdoor, and he would only go to spots where he could take his dog. With no children of their own, they both loved their dogs! He and my aunt spent as much time camping (in their custom trailer - is that really camping ;-) as possible. For years after he retired, he took my boys and my nephews for a week to "Camp David" somewhere in the Sierras. He and my Aunt June built their dream home in the foothills above Sonoma, CA, and every time we visited, they would take us for walks around their rather large piece of property, which overlooks the north bay, identifying every plant and bird.

Uncle David majored in music in college. He was a phenomenal jazz musician who played the piano - he and my mom, both tremendous pianists - and trombone. However, somehow he found his way into becoming an airline pilot for United, which he did until he was 60, but his first love was still in music. Being a pilot, he had a lot of off time. At one time, he played and arranged music for for 3 different jazz bands. To me he was always strictly 'Uncle David', so I was shocked when, on the back of one of his CDs, I noticed he was listed as 'Dave'.

He died of a short illness a couple of years ago, and I still miss our visits. He was always the voice of calm reason, and he really loved us all!

Here I am years ago (see my 80's sweater and hair!) just after Lindsey was born, with my Granddad England. That's Kristin in the foreground. I remember this particular trek north well. There was a sudden brutal storm, and the electricity flickered on and off for some time. During the longest outage, my mother, who took this picture, told the kids a couple of ghost stories. The best listener was Granddad!

Granddad was a teaching principal (spelled principal, not principle, because he was a pal to all the kids - not) in the small town of Durham, just outside of Chico. He was known as 'The Prof' and for a couple of years, he was the president of the California Principal's Association. His parents were very poor, so he had to earned a music scholarship in order to attend college. He believed that music made better students, so all of his students had to play an instrument. At 5 PM every evening, he could walk around their small town and hear all the students practicing. For year, he was the grand marshal of the town parade, a parade he instituted so that the kids march and play.

He also loved the outdoors, especially the Sierras. He spent every summer in the Sierras with my (long-suffering) grandmother. One year he spent weeks observing a particular meadow for a botany class he was taking. His observations were so in depth, his teacher later said that it should have been his master's thesis. He later taught botany at Chico State. He could identify every rock, tree and plant in the mountains.

The very best thing about him is that he never stopped learning! His other hobbies included woodworking, photography, Rotary Club, birding, music - he was concert master for the Chico Symphony - the list goes on, and if he had lived longer than his 95 years, I'm sure he would have had more! In short he was one of those small-town heros who are the back bone of America. He really, truly made a difference, and it is because of him that my husband decided to become a teacher.

No comments:

Post a Comment