Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remembering my dad on Father's Day

My Dad - Pete Repetowski 1917-1998
People would tell him he looked like Frank Sinatra!
I love this picture of my dad and his brothers. 

Pete, Herman and Matt stuck in the snow in North Dakota

My dad lived a difficult life in North Dakota. His parents had immigrated from the Ukraine and his dad died when he was a baby during the flu epidemic of 1918, leaving a wife and 3 young boys. My dad then began bouncing around from his grandparents farm to other relatives homes. His mom did remarry and had 3 more children living the farming life, but my dad must have felt the results of an unsettled youth, so he moved out at 15. He joined the CCC's (Civilian Conservation Corp) and worked logging in Minnesota. He moved to Oregon and lived in the Eugene area. His brother Herman moved out west as well. I'm not entirely sure how he ended up in Renton, but he did live in the Cabin City housing area in downtown Renton during the early 40's.
Here are mom and dad before they were married. I know there was a photographer that roamed the streets of Seattle taking pictures of folks as they walked by because I also have one of my mom and Aunt Eileen as well. My dad was a dapper dresser during his younger years and look how snazzy my mom looked!           
He and mom married when he was 28 and she was 21 in 1945. They both worked at Boeing in Seattle and that is where they met. They were married for 53 years when my dad passed away. He was a smoker up until he was in his late 60's when he and mom both quit one day "cold turkey!" It was sometime after Shauna was born and I would pester them about their smoking. One day I noticed that they didn't have their usual cigarette in hand and questioned them. Their response was "We quit a few weeks ago." Just like that! I was very pleased. Still, it was COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) that took my dad's life, not the Alzheimer's that he had been struggling with for the last few years of his life. 

My dad and me. I guess I was a snazzy dresser when I was a tot too!

And here are mom and dad at my wedding reception. We married the same year they celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary
Jane (my brother's wife,) Bob, Me, Dad and Mom

 Father's Day 1987

I think this was taken in the late 80's
My dad on his 50th wedding anniversary
I am thankful that God gave me Pete Repetowski as my dad! I didn't always feel that way. When I was young I was embarrassed at times when people told Polish jokes at my expense. I had wished we had gone on some fun family vacations when I was growing up or at least do more than taking care of the animals and garden! The last trip I remember as a family was traveling to North Dakota to visit his family when I was 14. And we certainly didn't veer off course to Yellowstone or any other sites along the way! My grandmother spoke broken English and I was always amazed that my dad could speak Ukranian! I'm glad that he passed down the tradition of making Pierogi (boiled potato dumplings, with lots of butter, onions and sour cream!) Overall I would say that I had a normal childhood, with a mom, dad and brother who loved me. My dad worked hard and provided a stable and happy life for us and I am thankful that he avoided the plague of alcohol that gripped others in his family. And I am happy that he and my mother were able to celebrate 50 years of faithfulness. In this day and age that seems like a real milestone! Thanks Dad! I remember all the times that he took Bob and me fishing at Lake Boren and on the bridges over May Creek. And when he drove me hither and yon and regularly picked me up from Renton High School when I stayed after school for inter-murals. That's after school sports for those of you young ones who are reading this! Mom didn't drive in those days.
Check out those fish! This was in 1959 Our dog Mitzi and two of the many cats that we always had outside
Families now have the ability to do so many more things than our parents and grandparents were able to do.Vacations to exotic places, dinner out for no reason, all the latest electronic devices and at least 2 cars in the garage! Expectations have changed. My parents were conservative spenders and looked for the best deals when making their purchases. Still, they built a new house for us to live in, my dad always had a tractor and a backhoe or dozer, and he was the one who bought me my first horse when I was 15. A good deal too. The horse, saddle, blanket, bridle and delivery for only $150! Prince was the horse that would find every occasion to scrape me off his back by heading for the low tree branches! My dad was a farmer at heart and all through my growing up we had a variety of chickens, pigs, cows, (yes, my brother and I even had to milk the cow from time to time) steers to butcher and horses. And mom and dad always had a big vegetable garden. I guess I was fortunate though. We ate real butter, had a freezer full of meat and a wall of shelving in the garage full of my mom's canned fruits, vegetables and jams.
Summer of my 14th year when visiting Dad's relatives in North Dakota. I guess that is why I've always been fond of buckskins!
And here is my first horse, Prince. Riding in cutoffs and tenny runners! He was my birthday present in November of 1963 when I turned 15. I'm sure our time in North Dakota that summer and my incessant talk of horses did the trick!


1 comment:

Robin said...

Wonderful tribute, Sandy!