I suppose I could say that dad was quaint. Here he is on the left and me on the right. I must have been about 16 years old on the photo and dad about 53 years old and we were visiting his sister. I suppose we all look a bit dressed up for the occasion, but that was 1962 and it was the pre-buejeans look for anything that goes. Men still wore their ties if they went somewhere. Even I had the current teenager look with an Amy Winehouse style although she was not even born then. I was way ahead of my time.
Dad would have been 103 years old today. He passed away in 2015, 100 and 7 months old and although I had been living in Switzerland since 1966 I always tried to visit once a year and was with him for his 100th birthday in London. Of course I am thinking a bit about him today, but not as a public memorial, the theme reminded me of dad.
It is not easy growing old in a world that gets faster and more complicated every day. Mr. Swiss and I both have our problems, but we grew up in cyber times and were both working in an office. We had to learn how a computer worked, we had to be able to make payments by cheque, or later online money transfer, it was part of daily life. Dad never had a bank account. Some of his famous words “I do not want a bank account, I do not want a cheque book” and so he never had one. It was all done by cash, although somewhere on the way he did have a sort of bank savings account. His factory wages were always paid weekly in a brown envelope in cash and that was dad. Quaint? Today yes, but then it was life.
After my mum passed away he was alone for many years, although he had a lady friend. He was lost at the beginning, cooking for himself, but he got use to it. He had his little council house with his kitchen and so he cooked daily on his gas stove. He eventually had to move to a care home when he was over 90 and we said he should have a microwave to cook with. “I don’t want a microwave” was his next statement. Eventually he had no choice, because although he had his own apartment at the care home, there was no cooking facility and everyone there had a microwave. I was in London when he moved and organised his microwave and there was no further discussion. And I think he quite liked it, although never admitted it was an improvement.
He was always fascinated by computers and when he saw that I could do photo work and produce illustrated documents he found it to be a super idea and I had a chance to make money with it. I had to explain that you could do it on any computer.
And now reflecting on all his quaint ideas, I wonder how quaint I am becoming. Of course I am a cyber golden oldie, have moved with the times, but am not so sure. The complete financial life on the computer is now being revised for safety reasons. It seems that a simple SMS code from the bank on the telephone or computer is no longer safe enough. We were told today that by the end of the year it will all be done by scanning. I know this system for flights is already in use and I have always rejected it up to now and did it on the computer by printing my ticket etc. It seems it is the future, but I did not grow into this as my dad did not grow up with money that he could never touch or his microwave which did it all in a few minutes instead of hours.
Perhaps we all become quaint eventually. Anyhow, happy birthday Dad, you might have been quaint, but you could still help me with my algebra homework when I was at school, even if you did it your way. And he was a wizard at working out the bets for the horse racing. 🙂