Sunday, June 16, 2013

Super Hero Award (Happy Father's Day)

I have not been able to wish my Dad a happy Father's day since 1996.

It was not until I became a working adult and a father that I really appreciated what lengths dad went to for his family. When he came home from the army in 1945 he took a job with Willys Jeep. They sold to         Kaiser, then it was just Jeep. Dad was able to stay employed through all of those mergers. In 1966 American Motors purchased Jeep. They closed the Portland office at that time. My Dad was given what he said was the hardest decision of his life. American Motors offered Dad an all-expense paid move and a promotion if he wanted to relocate his family to Los Angeles. He decided to go looking for work at 49 years old and only a high school education. He was able to find a job with a little-known car company sold under the name Datsun, that was just trying to break into the U.S. market, The down side to this new job is that it was a significant cut in pay, and until when and if the company took off he was going to have a traveling job. He was to cover all of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Part of Wyoming, Montana, and Northern California. This entire territory was to be covered by car.

I was almost 6 years old, I did not understand any of this. My entire life Dad came home at the end of the day, and if he had to work late we would go back to the office with him. We could run and play in the warehouse or... but we went with Dad. On Christmas day 1966 Mom and Dad told me that Dad was going on a trip, and would not be back "for a long time". A 6 year old can not get the concept about why now dad is going to be gone for 2 months. He had to go to corporate headquarters in Los Angels for 6 weeks of training and from there he had to go to Tokyo for 3 additional weeks of training.

He would finish his last sales call 8 or 10 hours away from home on Thursday afternoon and Friday was a travel day. Dad would not use his Friday travel day, after working a full day Thursday, he would drive all night to get home some time that night. I never realized how dangerous that was. The other thing that he would do, when it was his week to call on Western Washington, he would leave early in the morning and drive to Tacoma area, and come home that night. The next morning he would wake up and drive back through Tacoma and go to Seattle. After driving thousands of miles during the week, he would get back in the car on the weekend, and take the family on trips to the coast or the mountains.

I asked him once why he did not take a desk job in California, his answer was simply that he had 5 kids age 6 - 18 it wold have been to hard on them to move.

In Memory of Tony Oliver 1918 - 1996.                                      

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Dave. It's funny how we have to become adults ourselves to truly appreciate our parents. :)


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