Friday, May 7, 2010

Memories of Dad

Share your memories of Calvin Steussy, said Marti.

Dozens of people gathered tonight to say good-bye to my Dad...
...people from all walks of life - a brilliant surgical pathologist came and the guy who used to wax his cars.

Lab techs, his cleaning lady, doctors, friends, family - share your memories she said.

Where do we begin?


I think everyone in New Castle must have played tennis with my Dad.
And it was a memorable experience.
Because he loved it so much..and he so wanted to win!

He wanted to win so badly he would make faces at me from the net.
He taught Cally, Nic and me to play when we were just kids.

When I got older and better I might have been able to beat him. But if I got a lead he would clutch his chest looking pained. He knew I would let up on him rather than give him a heart attack.

Such was our father.

He would memorize the grain on the tiles in order to draw the blanks.

Ping-pong? His spin was legendary.

Bowling - he would hurl the ball down the aisle at the Rose Bowl and finish with a dramatic one-footed hop at the  foul line.

He was the consummate competitor.

Books - you have rarely met a man who loved to read like my father.

When he and Mom travelled to Europe he would buy newspapers in languages he didn't know just to have a newspaper in hand.

My husband Tom's job the last few years was to get "Doc" books at the local library.

He kept Tom very busy.

When he was home sick with tuberculosis when I was 5 years old, he read me Goliath II every day.

He always read brother Ed Yertle the Turtle.

My KC tearfully remembered the book series he started her reading with his Christmas gift one year.


That was Dad's best time of year.

The munificent giver of gifts his sister said.

When we were young he would take us kids on a grand shopping trip to Pogue's in Cincinnati.

When he got old we reversed the process.

We took him shopping.

Nic would bring a wheelchair and wheel him into the center of Borders bookstore.

Dad would study intently all the books we brought him buying an individual book for all 5 of his kids, 15 grandkids, in-laws, Mother and of course, one for himself.

This year we got everything from Pat the Bunny to Warren Buffet.

Borders loved Dad.

And cars!

Dad loved his cars - when he got a new car he would coerce the lab girls to leave work and take a ride in his new car.

Judy remembers the scary time he wanted to demonstrate his new anti-lock brakes!

His work?
He loved to talk about his work.

When Cally brought her high school friend, Nancy, to dinner Dad regaled us with stories of his latest autopsies.

Nancy turned pale...then a little green.

I don't think she joined us for dinner after that.

What I loved best - what I will miss the most - was his wry sense of humor.
It was plain wicked.

When I first started taking dictation for him at the lab...

"I cut across the osteoporotic bone...that's B-O-N-E." he would explain helpfully.

Or my friend in high school Dad nicknamed Chip -
because he had all the breeding of a chipmunk.

And then he would chuckle.

Dad's greatest love of all was my Mother.

After 60 years together they were separated for a few months this year when she moved to Zionsville Meadows.

Finally in February he moved in there with her.

When sister Cally asked him what was his favorite part of living at ZM, she expected he would talk about the food, the support, the staff.

He said "The best part is living with Mother."

Dad loved to play with words and used large words in unusual ways.

"Mother" he said on the answering machine.
"Why are you watching that pedestrian baseball game, when there's great golf on channel 13?.....
Over and out!"

That was his last message.
We found it on her answering machine two days after he died.

It was so Dad.

I'm going to miss him.

We all are.

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