Traces of Dad

Life with Mom

—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—

Everywhere I look these days, I see traces of Dad.

He and my mother had our house built 40 years ago, and I assume they seized this opportunity to expand space and conveniences.  Eight of us moved in one day in May, 1973.  This family relocation included my maternal Grandmother.

We moved from a small farm-house with only 3 bedrooms for 7 people, and one bathroom.  Grandma G. slept in a room the size of a large closet, off the dining room.  It was cozy, and big enough for her twin bed and a dresser.  She was just happy to be with us.

So I’ve been processing a flood of memories since moving back home a month ago.  These memories have been triggered by seeing different rooms, the old yard, and the fields and woods we used to play in. Things look a little different, but not enough to inhibit little strolls down memory lane.

As I look around, I also see evidence of my father’s creative side.  Things I either never noticed before,  never considered creative, or could have cared less about at the time.


When I was 11, Dad helped me cut and smooth out this piece of wood, so I could make a Mother’s Day present for my mother. It still hangs in the dining room.


Dad got creative with a tree that fell in our woods.  He brought it to the car wash to clean it, and then made several things from it, including these 2 pieces.


My father was a very practical person and was successful in using every inch of space in the house for something functional.  In the planning, all dead space was turned into some kind of closet or storage space.

He had chair railing woodwork installed in the bathroom so he could attach hooks to hang seven towels.  He labeled all of the hooks so we all knew which towel was ours.

I paused at the bathroom sink the other day as a long-ago memory penetrated my brain about the line of toothbrushes that also had an area labeled with our names.  I giggled when I remembered the part where that system had broken down, and Dad and I discovered that he and I were using the same toothbrush.  Neither one of us were too happy when we figured that one out.

As I move through each day, I notice Al’s touch all around me.  Some of these things were born of pure necessity, some of recreation and creativity.  In any event, as I slide in to this new season of my life, I can see my father’s MO so much clearer than I ever could.  I get it now.   He was just trying to meet his responsibilities as a husband, a father, and the main provider for a family of many.

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8 Responses to Traces of Dad

  1. Helen Tarof says:

    Dear Dianne What wonderful surprises I am sure will surface as you travel this road called LIFE,some good and some not so good,but just remember that you always have a friend  walking beside you at all times (not seen),but carried in your heart.  ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!! and keep sharing With much Love from your Outlaw Mother in Law Helen P.S. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong that I couldn’t send E Mail back to you, it finally surfaced.


  2. It’s funny how precious those simple handmade items become. They represent hanging scrapbook pages that quietly remind us where we came from and what’s most important in life’s day to day journey.

  3. Syl says:

    How wonderful to be able to go back to your childhood home and relive those memories and appreciate all that your Dad did. After my Mom died , my Dad eventually moved and he’s got many reminders in his house now, but it’s not THE house. I hope you discover lots of good memories.

    • Diane Fiore says:

      Syl, Although your father is not in the same home, my wish for him is to still be able to recall the memories that are most important to him. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  4. mafarckle says:

    That was a heart touching story.  It was nice to reminisce with you.  Thank you.  MaF


  5. R.J. Fedler says:

    Great piece, Diane! Your details draw a clear picture for readers. I felt as though I was reminiscing with you.

  6. Diane Fiore says:

    Thanks Rebecca. I value your scholarly opinion!

  7. Ann says:

    Humbling,how we wake up in our own lives and see our parents as the fellow humans they are and always have been,not monarchs ruling over our lives.

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