Memories of Dad

As I mentioned in the previous post about Dad’s passing, I have been working through many memories of Dad. I’ve found that towards the end of Dad’s life I thought of him more and more as an Alzheimer’s patient. After looking through old photos and hearing stories from the family, I’m so glad I’ve been able to remember Dad as the fun person he was in his younger years. Some of those fun memories from Dad’s nieces and nephews appear below:

From Roberta:

My Dad always recalls when Irvin fell in love with Frieda and says, “Irvin couldn’t take his eyes of his bride.  Once the three of them were traveling from Turtle Lake to Bismarck.  Irvin was driving. Frieda was sitting in the front seat.  With each passing mile, she slid closer and closer to Irvin on those “good old” bench seats.  Dad, who was seated in the back seat, noticed that Irvin was wonderfully distracted!  Now, as you know, Dad and Irvin were always kidding one another.  When one of Irvin’s hands moved away from the steering wheel (his arm lovingly wrapped around Frieda’s shoulders) and both eyes were totally focused on his beloved passenger, Dad remembers suggesting that the road deserved at least part of a driver’s attention.  Dad reminded the newly engaged couple of his chauffeuring days (while in college) in Chicago and got in the drivers seat for the return trip, so that the lovebirds could enjoy the ride!

When Uncle Irvin stayed with Mom, Dad, and Sheryl in Indiana during his Taylor (college) years, he developed quite a reputation with his very young niece. I think we all remember how playful he was! Sheryl also remembered him in another way.  One of her toys broke and as Mom and Dad puzzled over it, she proclaimed, “Uncle Irgis fix it!”  Indeed, before he turned to his studies, all necessary repairs were complete.

From Phyllis:

Phyllis Hultin Fick remembers your Dad playing hide and seek with his five nieces and nephews (Pat, Alden, Willie, Mary and Phyllis) in their Fordville, ND home.  What they discovered was that Uncle Irvin tracked their whereabouts by having his ear to the floor register, so to outsmart them.

From Phyllis and Alvin:

Both Phyllis and Alvin Hultin recalled memories of decorating the bride and grooms car at the infamous wedding of your parents.  Phyllis wrote: I always think of Irvin and Frieda’s wedding day, and how long it took to blow up all the balloons that were going to be placed in their car.  It was such a hot day and the thought of them having to squeeze together when they would get in their car was kind of an exciting prospect.  The happy couple came out to the car with the kids watching in anticipation.  Irvin pulled out the pin from his boutonniere, pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, went the balloons.  In a matter of seconds, all the hard work was gone and the couple slide into the front seat.

From Alvin:

Alvin remembers that we stuffed the car with newspapers and as fast as the couple removed them, we replaced them from a different vantagepoint!  He also recalls that we strategically placed pieces of watermelon in front of the tires.   It has long been the Hultin cousin’s belief that we didn’t initally endear ourselves to Uncle Irvin’s new bride, given the way we treated the wedding car.  We just hoped that our new Aunt Frieda would understand our interest in “payback” for all the practical jokes her new husband had bestowed on his nieces and nephews over the years!

More from Roberta:

My Dad’s memory about Irvin being so in love with his bride, Frieda, made me ponder Irvin’s love and admiration for his son, David.  It did not surprise me years ago to learn from a member of one of my Sunday School classes that the name “David” means “wanted one”, and hearing that brought to mind how of my youngest Hultin cousin was so wholeheartedly embraced by his parents and our extended family.  Home from college in the late 1960’s, I remember going to visit Uncle Irvin and Aunt Frieda and to see their new baby.  David was asleep in his bassinet and Irvin met her me at the door, “Shhhhh, come quietly.  You can see him smiling already … even while he sleeps!”  We tiptoed over to the bassinet to admire the sleeping infant.  As much as I love to watch an infant’s every move, I couldn’t take my eyes off Uncle Irvin; his love for this newborn son was nothing short of palpable.  Uncle Irvin always embodied this wonderful sense of anticipation, be it a delight of nature (which he appreciated so wholly), the next move in one of those endless games we played or puzzles we solved, or the destination on some fun road trip.  But this anticipation, while looking into David’s basinett, was even greater; my Uncle was smitten.  All of a sudden he whispered, “Look!  There it comes … his smile!”  I have no idea how long we stood beside that bassinet.  Time stood still and the memory has never faded for me, just as that father’s love never faded for his son.  Aunt Frieda just told me about reading David’s 2010 “Father’s Day” card to Irvin a few weeks ago and how when she said that the card was from David, she saw a little smile of recognition through the fog that Alzheimer’s Disease brings. My Uncle Irvin loved life, he loved family, he was true to his beliefs.

From Aileen:

Your Dad was a wonderful and fun man.  My memories of him are when Merton and him (before your Mom) would come to our house. The door would fly open and your Dad would grab Alvin, Merton would grab Paul, through them over their shoulders and away they would go. In our house they could run a full circle  around the house. Boy dog would chase them, barking, I would either chase them or stand and laugh and poor Mom would stand with her hands over her face or ears and shake her head. Of course she loved this racket as much as she loved her brothers, but it did get loud. So much fun!

And one more from Roberta:

Dad and I were remembering the time Irvin bolted in the back door at Wahpeton for a surprise visit. Our cocker spaniel, Copper, always alerted us when anyone approached (seems it was often the prelude to preparing a sandwich for one of the many vagabonds who came to that church/parsonage in need of sustenance.) Uncle Irvin must have had enough of this dog’s raucous barking!  Uncle Irvin swung open the back door, jumped forward on “all fours”, right in Copper’s face, and began mimicking Copper – only he raised the decibels several notches!  Boy, could Uncle Irvin let loose with a barking impression!  Copper fled to the other end of the house, squealing for her life all the way.  We had never seen (nor would we again see) Copper so startled!  Mom was practically on the floor in laughter. I was chasing Copper to tell her that it was “just Uncle Irvin who does these things” and not to be afraid.  Dad came out from the study to assess the ruckus and (as often occurred) he and Irvin engaged in a stand-up wrestling match.  Soon, they got Copper into the ring with them and all was well.  I think Mom called that memory, “The time Irvin pounced!”

And one of my own memories that was read at the funeral:

Irvin had a kind, gentle, and forgiving heart, but his son Dave remembers he knew how to dispense justice when needed. When Dave was about four years old on a hot summer day, his dog was tied up on a leash outside. Dave thought it would be good to take the garden hose and totally soak the dog with no mercy at all. Irvin heard the annoyed dog, came out, grabbed the hose, and totally soaked Dave, teaching him a quick lesson about kindness.

It’s been so wonderful to have the correct memories of Dad flood my mind in a way I never expected. Amidst all the memories I’ve really come to learn that Mom and Dad’s wedding was a real big deal. With their wedding occurring at Mom’s age of 40 and Dad’s age of 45, I can imagine it was a wonderful celebration in both families!

One Response to Memories of Dad

  1. Pingback: The End of a Generation « Dave Hultin —

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