Monday, February 04, 2008
Happy Birthday, Franklin...a day late
My dad's birthday was Sunday (Feb 3). I was yukking it up in Philly with no opportunity to dig in my photo files for anything suitable for the occasion. I took this photo of the City Hall in Philadelphia on Sunday. I don't know if Ben Franklin ever saw it, but the name Franklin rang a bell. In trying to remember a humorous story about Dad, the one that came to mind in this election year is how Marty--our neighbor at the lake and one of Dad's good friends--used to call him "Franklin," after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Not after Ben Franklin.)
Dad was a staunch Republican in the days when Republicans were honorable (face it...Richard Nixon was better than the freak show we have in there now). And of course, Roosevelt was a three-term Democratic president. Everyone, including Dad, got a good laugh every time Marty called Dad "Franklin."
Still, FDR was honored in my time--he brought the nation through the Great Depression, during which Gene and I were born, and he got us through WWII.
I remember the afternoon when we got the news that FDR had died. Gene and Mom sat in the living room listening to reports on the radio while I played with the electric train on the floor. The radio reporter, Mom, and Gene were all very solemn, and Mom dabbed her eyes a bit.
Those seemed to be the days when it was not as fashionable to hate the other party, although Dad could get up a pretty good head of steam over Kefauver and the New Deal. He pronounced the senator's name "KEEfawffer," which may have been correct. Others called him "KeeFAWVer."
Anyway, happy birthday, Pop! You'd have been 114 on Sunday--six years older than Dan's mom, who is still percolating and will celebrate her 108th in a few days!!
He wrote a short story when he was stationed at Newport News, Virginia, during WWI. It was about a rube sailor from the sticks sighting a submarine for the first time. Mom showed it to me once, and then she put it away. I don't know what happened to it. Like most revealing, personal documents in our family, it doubtless was disposed of before anyone else could see it and realize the depths of our presumption! Heavens!