Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Uncle Stanton (and President Ford)

My uncle Stanton played football with President Ford in college in Michigan. When Ford passed away, my cousin dug out this old picture and passed it around.

I remember seeing it as a child and was somehow not impressed back then. Now it seems like another testament to an incredible life.
When my father ended up in the hospital last April, from a bad chest cold, Stanton was on the phone with us every day. When my father passed away, he didn't hesitate for a moment to get on a plane. I took that picture of him at the memorial services. He told us all his stories of little brother, "Albie" (my father's name is Albert).
My favorite story is how they hitchhiked from Chicago to LA to see the Olympics in 1934. They were 15 and 17. They were sleeping on park benches in Santa Barbara when I policeman offered to let them sleep in the jail. So they did! They loved sports and played every sport imaginable.

Uncle Stanton turned 91 in January. He lives in Chicago where he and my father were born and raised. He worked as an attorney until he was 85! His wife, whom he had 4 kids with, passed away maybe 20 years ago, and he just married his longtime girlfriend in 2005. When my dad asked him "WHY?", he said........"it was the right thing to do".

In 2004 when I made my father sell his business, I bought him an airline ticket to Chicago so he could visit his brother. He hadn't been back to Chicago for over 20 years. Stanton, on the other hand, had come to visit his sister and brother in Calif. quite a few times. He actually came by himself in 2003 and stopped at my house on his way from SB to SF (where my aunt lives). He looked at the scrapbook I had made for my dad and LOVED it. He wanted to go home and make one too.

Anyway..............my dad reluctantly went to visit him (he didn't take vacations.......too frivilous an activity), because I had bought the ticket and all...........and he had a great time. My dad said that Stan still went canoeing on Lake Michigan EVERY morning. He hoisted his canoe on top of his car............by himself.......and off he went for his morning row. I'm not sure if he's still doing that. I gotta call him and find out.

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