Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BIG.

P1080977

Photo taken four years ago : then aged 94

At first I was not going to do this one. Why? Because there is no person of the year.

Despite this I have a person, but not of the year, of all the years past, present and future: My Dad.

He was born on 24th September, 1915, lived through two world wars, knew hard manual work. This year he will be 98 years old, qualification enough to be Person of all the years.

He has shared many memories with me, mostly making me laugh: very rarely talking about the sad times. At the age of three his mother had his arms around a strange man who had knocked at the door, dressed in an army uniform.

“Who’s that man?” he asked his mum.

“That’s your father” was the answer, so there we have the beginnings. Born to a working class family, his mother swept away from the country by his London born father, he grew up in Stratford,  East End of London. The first born died shortly after her birth, the second was his older sister who lost her leg in the first world war through a bomb that hit the post office center in London where she was working at the time. At the age of 16 she had a false leg and I remember her well until she died in her seventies.

My dad had an elder brother who died at the age of 21 through an accident at work. He was repairing the lift at Lloyds insurance company (where my grandfather was nightwatchman” and fell down the lift shaft. Two weeks later he died. So this was my father’s background.

World War two broke out and like many men of his age at the time, he was called up to service. He fought five years, as a normal soldier, nothing special. Once on leave in London he met a young lady that he married and that was my mum.

After returning from the war he searched for a job. He was not highly educated or had a trade. He could have made the grade at school and done his exams for high school but at that time you needed something that was scarce in our family: money. You had to buy school books and a uniform, so he just worked where he could. His first job was messenger boy in the City of London, but he left because he got fed up with calling all the men in the office “Sir”. Next job was apprentice to a menswear shop as salesmen where he learnt the ins and outs of mens clothing trade. Then the war was approaching so he took a job in the City of London in a hat shop, knowing that he would soon be dressed in field green and fighting for his country.

He was in the heavy artillery and saw quite a bit of the world in the army: Italy, Palestine (as it was then called), France and Germany. When he returned to London he married two days later. He had only seen my mum once during the war, but they had corresponded, although most of my dad’s letters had broad black stripes where they had been censored by the War Department before being sent.

His first job after the war was on the London railway, nothing special, just doing the jobs that were called for. Afterwards he worked for many years in a cigarette factory, Kensitas, until a colleague told him to apply at Ford’s motors for a job. He did and that was the job he had longest. He was in the wheel department.

He is my dad. Took me up to London to visit the museums, showed me the City of London which he knew in detail, went to a couple of football matches with me (West Ham United was our team) and was always there for me. He was always joking, telling stories, and had a good singing voice. In his army days he often performed for his regiment with two other good friends he had at the time and they won a few singing competitions.

He loves a party, dancing and singing all the time and just being my dad.

Today things are quieter. He is still 200% there, we still have arguments and he knows exactly what is going on. I live in Switzerland, he lives in London, but I go to London once a year to see him and if necessary I would be there within a day. He now lives on his own, my mum passing on almost thirty years ago. Afterwards he had a “girlfriend” that lived opposite, but at the age of 95, she died. I have no brothers or sisters. Thanks to a super neighbour, who was once a carer for older people, his needs are looked after. I also have a good school friend that lives near to his house and she often looks in on him and deals with things for him. My dad can no longer go out for walks; his legs are not the best any more. He can still get around at home and manages to cook his lunch (being delivered by a special company that caters for food at home), but he can only manage a walk to the kitchen or the bathroom and not more.

He never complains.

Thanks to Skype I often call him. I ask “how are you” and the answer is always “just the same, just the same”.

My dad is my hero, my man of all time. He always talks about “when my time comes” but I tell him we are going to celebrate his 100th birthday together.

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

16 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Person of the Year | On My Front Porch

  2. The story of your Dad made me think of my mother who will be 97 years old in November and though she wears a hearing aid and has difficulty walking,her mind is clear and she still makes me laugh. Her life was difficult as well. I phoned her last week and the staff of the care home she is in ,told me that she was having a rest day. I was concerned so phoned again the next day. She told me that it was all the excitement of the nightlife that tired her out. I asked if it was going out to nightclubs that wearied her and she answered it was the lap dancing classes that really did it! I didn’t know she knew about lap dancing. She continually surprises me. I often wonder what she would have become if she hadn’t become pregnant and then went on to have three more children. She does a very difficult crossword every day as I do but I can’t even understand some of the clues in hers. Best wishes for your father he seems a wonderful man.

    Like

    • At least your mother wears her hearing aid. I have to shout the same thing about ten times when I phone my dad until he realises what I am saying. He does not do crosswords. Either to easy or too hard. He does sudoka all day long and solves them.

      Like

  3. Yay, dad! We had the same idea–writing about the most fabulous people we know 😉 And yay, only children–you’ve got another one right here (my husband is an only also, as are my son from my first marriage and my husband’s daughter from his first marriage…).

    Like

  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Person Of The Year, Really Time? | My Daily Prompt Blog

  5. Pingback: Person of the Year: Big | Khana's Web

  6. Very moving. We have a lot to learn from our elders. I was also tempted to write about my mother (my dad died years ago). But I didn’t have the courage to do it. They lived the most beautiful love story you can imagine. My father as an independent journalist, was first prisoner of the fascists and then of the communists during WWII, and after that had to left the country, my mother and my older sister couldn’t do it and they were forcefully separated for twelve years. But mom and dad were faithful to each other all this time and managed to finally reunite and live together again until they celebrated 56 years of marriage, then my father died. My father was a poet and had a diary in which you can see how much he loved my mom. He was in love as a young man and as an old man and my mom has now his poems an diaries to keep alive that love. Sorry for the extent of this comment. Your post inspired me!

    Like

    • I am sure that would have been a good read if you had written it all. I just found out you can write a blog in different parts, which would be a good system for writing all those wonderful memories you have. You father must have been a very interesting person and I am sure reading his written works must bring back wonderful memories. Even one of my father’s school books with some compositions are interesting for me, especially as they were written around 1928.

      Like

      • Thank you for your advice. That’s what I’m trying to do. But sometimes it takes an emotional toll on me. We were very close. I know how wonderful it is to read something written so early.1928! it has to be very interesting. We have big treasures in our hands. Take care of your father. My vote to him.

        Like

  7. Pingback: The Person of the Year; And It Ain’t You | The Jittery Goat

  8. Pingback: Time’s Person of the Year! DP | Edward Hotspur

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s