THE FAMILY ALBUM: Remembering my dads and bonus dads

It’s Father’s Day weekend.

Thursday, I was celebrated by my son and his partner with a wonderful gift which is a trip to Springfield, Illinois in July for one of my favorite historical events.

It’s my turn to celebrate those who took an active role in my life.

Photo No. 1: Clockwise – my birth father, Danny Lee Jolliff (1942-1983); my adoptive dad, David Lewis Haas (1942-2020); my paternal uncle, Garry Dean Jolliff (1944-2002); and my maternal grandfather, Leroy “Red” Barmes (1921-2004).

Photo No. 2: Uncle Garry Photo No. 3: Uncle Garry & Aunt Jenny

Photo No. 4: My maternal uncle, Ronald Dean Barmes, who was twelve years older than me and a bonus big brother. This is a photo taken with Uncle Ron and me in 1965.

Photo No. 5: Grandpa Leroy and me; December 1964

Photo No. 6: Grandpa Leroy and me; Summer 1965

Photo No. 7: Grandpa Leroy and me; 1966

Photo No. 8: Grandpa Leroy and me; 1967

Photo No. 9: Uncle Ron holding my sister, Dena, and me holding my brother, Destin; May 1975

Danny Jolliff really was a wonderful father until the alcohol imprisoned him. From him, I learned the deep rooted love for US history, a passion for music (co-cheered by Mother), tenderness and gentleness, humor, and gentlemanly courtesies. Thank you…

David Haas continued my passions for history and music, seldom missing concerts I was in or conducting. He even sat through the musicals. He counter-balanced the tenderness and gentleness with backbone and grit – “don’t piss with me.” Mine and Dad’s humor aligned perfectly and he gave me his surname which I value… and often have to explain how I ended up with a hyphenated last name before it was “the thing.” Thank you, Dad…

Grandpa Leroy was much like Alice Roosevelt describing her father, Theodore Roosevelt: “He wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.” He was larger than life and like his father, my Grandpa Virgil, told the funniest, most marvelous stories. I learned many valuable lessons from this man. I was The Boss and I cherished the nickname, “Honkin.” Thank you, Papaw…

Uncle Richard Jolliffe… rifles and flags, up; band at attention; march on, Dear Fellow. Thank you, Uncle Dick…

Both my uncles served in the military: Uncle Garry was in the US Army, serving in Vietnam and Uncle Ron was in the US Navy. Both uncles shared the middle name, Dean. Both uncles cheered my passion for music and history. I miss them, both, and wish my sons could have known these great-uncles who had such an impact on my life. Thank you, Uncle Garry and Uncle Ron…

As of November 2020, these five men have died but they left wonderful sparks of themselves and their love burning inside me.

There are several other men who had a wonderful influence on my life: my Little League Baseball coach, Dennis Elledge; my neighbors who were high school teachers, Don Fortner and Dick Herndon; my high school principal, Gordon Paquin; my college choral conductor, Doug Amman; and so many bonus-uncles from The Elwood Police Department. Thank you, Gentlemen…

Happy Father’s Day… Know you are loved…

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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