On this father's day, I wanted to acknowledge the guy who made my life possible. My father.
He was a special guy and like many of his generation, came to the USA with nothing in his pockets but just hopes for a better future. He was one of ten brothers and only 17 years old when he made his first trip over. To make ends meet, he worked three jobs. He was a houseboy to a rich and famous California golden age family, he washed dishes at a restaurant part-time, and at night he washed bottles for a local bottling company. His hands were often cut from damaged bottles and he told of having to wake up with little or no sleep to serve his host family breakfast and tea. During the depression, they lived on discarded fish heads from the local markets. Somehow, he went to enough school to learn rudimentary English.
During the war, he was a cook on a warship even though he wasn't a citizen yet and somewhere along the line, he returned to China enough times to eventually conceive my brother and myself, and to eventually bring us all to the USA before the Communists took over the country in the late 40s. He made his money through hard work and aggressive saving. We ran a grocery store which was open 12 hours a day and open every day of the year for decades. He had some luck in stocks and eventually a few of his real estate investment yielded success. For a self taught man, he did pretty well, but always wanted his kids to do better and "to get an education". He realized that things would always be stacked against us and so he encouraged us to always do well in school. A good education was the equalizer and I was lucky. With both his encouragement and my mother's constant reminders, I was the first in the family to graduate from college.
Standing on his shoulders gave me an advantage financially, and I tell my kids that they will have the advantage of standing on both his shoulders and hopefully mine to reach their goals. They also will have the responsibility of being caretaker and building upon their grandfather's legacy for their own kids and to educate them as to where they came from and their subsequent responsibility.
So today I say "Thanks Dad" for everything. I wish you could see me now and I want so much to talk to you again and to tell you all that has happened. But I think you know already, and have been watching over me all these years. Happy Father's day dad....