Dad is 81 this year. He has had a few setbacks the last couple years and is slowly recovering from a few illnesses and maladies. It is tough to see how long it takes for someone so close to you to recover to normal. Normal is now a moving target. Dad of 81 is not dad of 75 or 70 or before.
Over the last few years my dad has held fewer conversations. Dad spent a few years in the Navy back in the Korean war. Working fire crew on the deck of a destroyer damaged his hearing for life. As he aged, his hearing diminished. Hearing aids help but he seems to struggle with them and holding a conversation. Granted my mother and father mostly yelled at each other casting barbs and insults. I could argue that he tuned out and has not really tuned back in.
Over the years, dad has told a number of stories and recounted experiences of his past. I remember a few and forgot most. While dad was spending a couple months in the hospital recovering from some illness(es), we found that on morphine, he was rather chatty. Much more so than at home. I took the opportunity to take some videos in the hospital. Unfortunately, they all did not save but a couple did.
When he got home, I asked him about a couple things he had mentioned in the past. Here are a couple stories he shared with us.
Friday, September 30, 1955. Dad is attending Radio and Television broadcasting school in Hollywood. Dad and some friends drive back to Monterey to visit friends and family for the weekend. He is passed by James Dean and later passes the crash site. Ignore my attempts to mislead him on the highways. Highway 5 was built years later.
October 1955. Dad is heading back to Hollywood after visiting Monterey on another weekend. He recounts an experience with an Unidentifed Flying Object, UFO, near Bakersfield, CA.
I visit dad around once a week. Every visit I keep working with him have a conversation. He is coming around more and more. I plan to record some of his stories like when he was a golf caddy in Pebble Beach for Johnny Weissmuller and Bing Crosby.