Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#124-THE CENTURION (Totally Tubular Toby on hold 1 more week)

Dad had just put a
french fry in his mouth.
A terrific man, a wonderful father, and he's MY 100 year old dad!

This is a picture taken at our Local McDonalds where my father INSISTS on having lunch EVERY DAY! (for the past 10 years).  This was taken Feb. 8th 2010 on his 99th birthday.  He has many fans there and when he enters they greet him like he just walked into "Cheers."

Dad retired to the midwest in 1978 (with my mom, who passed away about 5 years ago).  He was not the type to retire and do nothing so, he put in for substituting.  When they found out that he was the only teacher in the state of Missouri certified in both Physics and Chemistry they hired him to replace a teacher that was leaving.  Dad had no interest in a permanent teaching job but, he agreed to the position until they found someone else.  He taught for a year.

Then he was asked to work for a local company as a Chemist.  He agreed only on his terms.  Again he had no desire to work full time.  It ended up being full time for a while.
Just to let you know the kind of man he is, when they came to him and asked him to retire (a down turn in sales) he told them that HE was the one who would decide when to quit and they left him alone.  About 6 months later he retired, AGAIN.

Although involved before, he then threw himself into the activities of the church he was attending.  He served in several positions and became well known as the guy who played the innkeeper in the annual living Nativity scene.  No one signed up for that position because everyone knew it was Bill's part (that's what they call him here).

At the age of 89 I had to call his grandson, "Gene, over to the house AND GET YOUR GRANDFATHER OFF THE ROOF! " Dad was up there washing the gutters out with a water hose.  When scolded about the dangers of him being up there he simply laughed and said,  "Karen, it's not the roof that's dangerous, it's the damned ladder!"

At the age of 90 he started substituting again only to quit because my mother became ill.  Her Altzheimers became severe and he had to lock himself in the house with her for three years.  He refused to put her in a nursing home and took care of her 24/7/365.  (THIS IS THE KIND OF MAN MY FATHER IS!) I moved home and helped out as often as I could but I had a full time teaching job 1 hour away.

This sacrifice cost him his health.  Up until this time he was like a healthy 50 year old.  He developed diabetes and high blood pressure.  Shortly after mother died he took a tumble in his kitchen and shattered his right shoulder.  Completely broke the ball off and crushed the cup.  Did that keep him down?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  He was in a nursing home for 3 months (driving us crazy insisting on lunch from McDonalds).  I could see him going down hill so I retired in the middle of the year and took him out AMA.  And he is still here today.

Dad still retains his sense of humor on a day to day basis.  He is loved and admired by all who know him.  All of my memories of Dad have a great deal of laughter echoing around them.

My dad is a man of honor and integrity.  He is a rule follower extraordinaire.  For example when walking to a local football game I started to cut across the grass.  He wouldn't follow.  It was against the rules even though not posted.  If the speed limit was 45 he would go 45 not 46 (which always irritated Mom and I).  But, he never lectured or criticized us, just led by example. 

During WWII my dad tried to sign up.  (Several of his basketball seniors died in the Arizona) He was turned down because he had a cracked vertebrae.  Did that stop him (I am sure you know the answer), ABSOLUTELY NOT.  He quit his education job and relocated his family to a job he took at the Atlas Powder Company.  If he couldn't fight then he could at least use his skills as a chemist to make bombs.  

He is the most honest man I know and never even cheated on his taxes.  I have never know him to lie, cuss, or talk against another human being.  

He never spanked me, never yelled.  All he had to do is look at me and that was it.  He was the same way with his students, players and faculty.  Dad had this way of expecting the best from everyone and always getting it.  Somehow, no one wanted to disappoint Mr. Taylor.(while in secondary school, I did  suffer a little ego problem by being his daughter.  I had guy "friends" and but no boyfriends.  Later I found out that all the "guys" had self imposed this "hands off" policy when it came to me).OK, enough is enough?  But I am just getting started. So I will try to shorten my comments.   

  • As a grade school student in he was up before dawn to collect, wrap, and deliver newspapers.  After delivering the papers he would go to the local grocery and sweep out the store for food to bring home to his large family.  Then he would go to school where he received excellent grades.
  • He was a home town football hero in High School and continued to be lauded for his feats at Missouri Valley College.  He was inducted into their Hall of Fame.
  • Dad still holds records at his high-school and college for various sprints etc.  As a coach he was known for running backwards and taunting team members to try to catch him   (THEY NEVER DID).
  • When teaching PE at he would challenge any takers to a foot race.  If they won he promised to give them an automatic A (THEY NEVER DID).
  • Dad is still celebrated by his home town for the football team he coached in 1947 which had an undefeated and UN-SCORED upon season.
  • The middle school (was a PE teacher, teacher, V.P. and Principal) was his "BABY for 23 years."  He dedicated himself to the facility, the teachers, and especially the students.  He was available to all 24/7 in any capacity needed. Mother often felt like a widow during the school term.
  • He never missed a school activity and he retired one year early, with pay, because of all of the stored up sick leave.
  • He took classes every summer and finally ran out of classes to take.  He refused to get his Doctorate because he would have to take time off from his beloved school.  He said,  "I don't need a Dr. in front of my name and I don't need the additional money that bad, either!"

I could go on like this for pages and pages.  Suffice it to say...THEY DON'T MAKE THEM LIKE HIM ANYMORE.