Category Archives: Family

My Dad’s Dad

I never got to meet my dad’s dad – that would be my Grandpa Deboy. He died long before I was born, to tell the truth I’m not even sure what year. Looking back at family history though I can kind of guess… I think he was 54 when he died, and my dad was 20. Since my dad was born in 1934, my grandpa would have died in 1954 or early 1955, meaning he would have been born in 1900 or 1901.

I do know some things about him… he came to the United States from Germany. I don’t know the date he was processed through Ellis Island, but his ship left Germany on May 23, 1922. I have a copy of the page from the ship’s passenger list with my grandpa’s name on it. I guess he came here because he wanted to be an American. My dad said as early as he can remember, no German was spoken at home, only English. Some time after arriving, he married Thelma, my Grandma – for some reason we always called her “Murphys Grandma” instead of Grandma Deboy. She passed away when I was 4 or 5. I loved her dearly, but I’ll write about her later. This is about her husband, my dad’s dad, Albert Deboy.

At some point, my grandpa got a job with a dairy. He was good at his job, so good that he eventually he was in charge of taking the dairy’s “show string” to all the big fairs in California (including the State Fair) to show them. In those days, that was a big deal. Then he gave it all up and quit to become a caretaker at a sanatorium in the little town of Murphys, California.

If you’ve ever been to the Central Valley in California, you may know how hard it can be in kids with asthma or allergies. Lots of heat, lots of pollen, hell on allergies and asthma – and hell on my dad, who suffered from both. The family decided to send my dad to a sanatorium in Murphys for a better climate and treatment for his allergies and asthma.

It didn’t work out so well I guess… my dad missed my grandparents and they missed my dad, so they moved him back home and told him to just deal with the allergies and asthma… NOT. My grandpa gave up his prestigious job with one of the top dairies in California and moved the family to Murphys so the whole family – my dad included – could be together. My grandpa was unemployed for awhile, but eventually he was able to get a job as caretaker at the sanatorium that was treating my dad.

When I look at the little I know about my grandpa, I wish I could be more like him – selfless instead of selfish, willing to sacrifice my own ambitions for the sake of my family. Unfortunately I still have a long ways to go…

Bishop – twice in two weeks – week two

The first trip was going to be the only trip, but after packing and cleaning for two days mom decided we needed to make one more trip before the estate sale. This trip was better and worse. The first time she griped about the way I drove, so this time I followed her down, and she stayed when I came back to Reno so I could set my own pace coming back. This time we left on a Saturday and I came back on Monday. Since the Monday was Robert’s first day back at school after Easter break, the kids stayed home this time. That was good and bad – since Mom was content to hang out at the motel (I guess she gets sad hanging at the house and getting ready to hand the keys over to someone else) I got to have a lot of alone time that I needed. OTOH, I missed the kids, and Robert got really upset Sunday morning when his mom was late getting home due to working 4 hours of overtime on her shift.

Unlike the first trip, I got to spend some time over at the lot. Very depressing looking at the two dry creeks. They ran continuously from at least 1975 when my parents bought the lot all the way through 2012. I’ve caught many fish in them, and since they had the bigger creek dug out it’s deep and wide enough to float in – if it had water. Now it’s just dry, with mud at the bottom every time it rains or DWP decides to let a little water down. Depressing.

Mom found some more things she wants to bring to Reno that wouldn’t fit in the back of my truck so in a few weeks I’ll be renting a U-Haul and making another trip. I also decided to get as many of Dad’s lave rocks while I’m there since I’ll have a big, almost empty truck.

I took my camera this time but didn’t bother to take any pictures. In some ways Bishop is the same as it’s always been, but in other ways it’s changed and for the worse in my opinion. Lots of areas I used to hunt, fish, fly rockets, ride my BMX bike, etc. are now fenced and posted “No Trespassing” even though the land is still empty. Hardly any local businesses left but more people. Down town is dead at night. It’s hard to believe that the year I graduated from high school, Bishop could support an 18 lane bowling alley, FOUR grocery stores, three hardware stores, Radio Shack, four or five sporting goods stores, a Baskin Robbins, four or five liquor stores, three bars, and lots of other small businesses. Now the bowling ally is closed and used as a warehouse, there are NO liquor stores, Basking Robbins is gone, no more hardware stores, no Radio Shack, only one bar, two grocery stores, and lots of the little gift shops and whatnot are closed. The ironic thing is the population is 10 or 15% higher than it was when I lived there – more people supporting fewer local business.

I hope the next trip is a little happier.

Bishop – Twice in two weeks – week one

I was lucky enough to go to Bishop twice in two weeks. Both were quick trips though and bittersweet. The first trip was to help my mom get ready for her estate sale. Drove down on a Saturday and back on Monday, me and my two kids in my truck and mom in her car. We didn’t have time to do much except pack and clean. Staying in a motel in my own town sucks, but at least they had a good breakfast bar. I feel sorry for my mom. She used to be so… I don’t want to say “smart” because she’s still smart, but now she gets confused easily, “remembers” things that were not the way she remembers them, says something then forgets she said it, and she takes EVERYTHING so seriously now. Like a joking comment by me on my need to lose a few points getting a half hour dissertation on the importance of proper nutrition, what I “really to do,” etc. Since I didn’t like hanging out at the motel I spent as much time as I could at the house. It was kind of sad, realizing it’s probably one of the last times I’ll get to be there.

On the plus side, I think my 10 year old really enjoyed being there. His older brother is finally getting over his need to constantly be present so me and Robert got to spend some time alone together. He has a pretty funny sense of humor – when I said one of the nice things about Bishop is there are no bad guys, right away he piped up with “So what do they do, pay the police to sit around and do nothing?” then spent the next half hour making up jokes about cops in a practically crime-free town. I got a kick out of it.

Like I said though, it was a very bittersweet experience. The creeks at the lot still don’t have water for the third or forth year in a row. Almost all the stuff mom is keeping is already in Reno, everything left in Bishop will be sold at the estate sale and what doesn’t sell will be donated to a local charity. Dad’s beautiful grape arbor will stay in the back yard.

I wish there was a way I could find a job and move to Bishop. I love it there – the slow pace of life, the wide open spaces, friendly people (but not “fake friendly” like in a big, liberal city), and the way you can get just about anywhere in 10 minutes or less. Oh, and the lack of bad guys…

More like my Dad…

I wish I could be more like my Dad. It’s been almost 2 years since his passing and sometimes I miss him so much I cry. Still. After 2 years…

We didn’t always agree on things, but he was always supportive and never got angry even when I was <ahem> vehement on my position. Unlike me…

He was a busy man, but he always made time for family and put family first. In particular, no matter what he was doing or how important it was, he’d stop and make time to talk to me when I needed to talk. Unlike the way I am with my two sons…

He had a strong faith. He didn’t just talk about it, he lived it. Unlike me…

He was a quiet, modest man, but he would speak out – strongly – when he felt he saw some injustice or unfairness that he needed to speak out about. Unlike me…

He was tough but fair, and always calm. No matter how badly I screwed up he would always talk to me about it – no yelling, no swearing, no etc. Unlike me…

So now I just got an interruption and I’ll have to finish this post later. Not handling it well. Unlike how my Dad would have handled it…

I wish I could be more like my Dad…

Yesterday was the last day…

My dad passed away a year ago today, so yesterday was the one year anniversary of the last day I got to talk with him. I remember it well. Last year the 19th was on a Sunday, and even though Monday was a holiday I was going to have to work. My parents were planning on picking up my son and having him spend the day with them. I called them in the evening to finalize the plans, which were for them to pick him up around 11:30, then when I got off work I’d go to their house and we’d all have a visit.

I don’t usually remember casual conversations, but this one really stuck in my mind because my dad sounded really agitated about the NFL playoff game he was watching. His team was losing, a combination of poor playing and bad refereeing (according to him). My dad was an avid football fan, but it was the first time I’d ever hear him sound so irritated about his favorite team losing a game. I jokingly told him that if he didn’t calm down I’d have mom ban him from watching football… then I changed the subject and we talked a little more and hung up. Something just didn’t feel right. If I’d known it was the last day I’d ever talk to my dad I would have gone to their house that night to visit. It turns out it’s good I didn’t though because they wouldn’t have been there anyway.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Welcome to 2015:) I don’t put too much stock in New Years Day… January 1st is just another day… except…

It gives us a chance to reflect on the past and plan ahead.

2014 wasn’t a great year for me. My dad passed away in January (hard to believe it’s been almost a year) and I still miss him. My mom, who seemingly handled it well at first, seems to be… well I don’t want to say she’s losing her mind, but in some ways…

My 9 year old continues to be rebellious (9 going on 19, I swear…), I have gout or some other crap going on in my left leg, and try as I might I’m having a hard time trying to re-forge family ties with my sister. I mean… does politics have to be injected into EVERY thing???

On the plus side, our front yard no longer looks like a disaster zone. We have 3 raised beds in the back yard planted with garlic and all (well most) of┬áthe brush has been cleaned up. My mom got a new house a lot closer to ours. I visited with my sister 3 times in 2014 – more than in the previous 10 years – and when she shuts up about her politics she’s actually a nice person.

Looking forward to 2015, I’m going to build a rabbit hutch and get 2 bucks and 4 does. Also want to get a ringneck pheasant rooster (have a friend of a friend who breeds them in Bishop) and maybe a few chickens. We already have garlic planted, in the spring we’ll be getting 6 more raised beds (one for Salsify) and maybe plant a grape vine.

Last but not least I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way that my wife can quit her day job, and also get my dad’s (now mine) old truck to Sparks so I can get it running.

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed year in 2015…