Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Blog | 1 comment

A Tribute to My Dad, David H. Raymond

A Tribute to My Dad, David H. Raymond (1921 – 1984) –

To the right is a photo (the only one I have) of my Grandfather.  He was dead before I was born, so I never knew him.  He worked for the railroad cleaning up trainwrecks.  For a guy who must have been dirty, with a job like that, I’d say he cleaned up pretty good!  I now have the pocket watch hanging from his coat pocket in the picture.
Click to enlarge
To the left is a photo of my Dad at age 4 or 5…I think.  Seated and reading is my Aunt Mary and seated next to her is my Aunt Miriam ( we called her Aunt “Mini” because, as kids, we couldn’t pronounce her name).  Dad used to tell stories of growning up during the depression.  It looks, in this photo, like they were well off, but times were tough.  My Dad used to talk about getting up in the morning to stoke and re-build the fire in the stove in order to heat their house.  It was his job to get the fire started.  My Dad was also a prankster.  We are of French background and my Dad’s Great Aunt, I think, spoke almost no English, mainly French and she was very supersticious.  In the summer when Dad would go to stay with them on their farm, he would sneek out of his bedroom window and climb across the roof and sneek into her room where she was asleep.  He would then crawl under her bed and shake it while making “spooky” noises!  She thought a ghost was in her room and would wake up frightened and screaming!  What a stinker!
Dad’s Army pic- 1942?

David H. Raymond was ordered to report to the Milwaukee Railroad Depot in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, at 5:00am on the morning of February 25th, 1943.  Breakfast was served on the train.  He then went to Fort Chaffee…I think down South, maybe Arkansas?  He was assigned to the 3rd Infantry, Company “A”,  99th Chemical Mortar Battalion.  Dad was shot in the leg by a German sniper.  It was a “clean wound” going all the way through his calf.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and sent back into battle after a brief recovery.  We used to ask him to show us his “bullet scar”!  Dad came home, landing in Boston, MA on July 6th, 1945, a decorated hero of the war.  In addition to The Purple Heart he was awarded 2 Bronze Stars, 3 Battle Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, a Unit Citation Badge and other ribbons notating various battles.

That’s my Dad, 3rd from the left.  The guy with the suit on and arms around the others is “Moody”, he was my Mom’s boss at “Club 51” in Memphis, TN…she was a waitress.  Dad was there in 1947 working construction.  The other guys at the table are from Dad’s crew.  “Moody” (don’t know if he really was moody or how he got that name) really liked Dad and treated him like a son.  Dad met mom (probably started hitting on her as his waitress) they fell in love and got married in 1947.  I have a pic of them standing together at the jukebox which I will post here when I find it.  Those guys sure could drink!  Dad’s favorite drink when out was Jim Beam and water.  I also remember him drinking Hamm’s beer…..YIKES!
I am my Dad’s only son.  My middle name is David, after him.  He and I did lots of things together and I think about him every day.  Some of my fondest memories were of sitting in his lap, eating popcorn while watching “The Red Skelton Show” or “Gunsmoke”.  Dad was NOT the perfect father or husband….who is?  He sometimes drank too much, which my mother hated.  But he provided for our family and loved his kids.  To the left Dad is walking with me on a pony in Memphis.  We used to go down there to visit Mom’s family.  I’m 2 years old in that pic dated 1964.   To the right is one of my favorite pics of Dad and me.  Dad was always cutting up and had a laugh that everybody in our small town knew…it was loud!  I always said that he looked like Jackie Gleason….sounded and acted like him too!   Here he is on Christmas morning, doing the twist while I play a drum I got from Santa.  I later became a drummer and to this day I play every now and then.  Looks like Dad just got up or had been out the night before.  I think I’m about 5 in this pic.
If ever there was a picture that needed explaining…this is it!  My Dad was FUN!  He loved to laugh, sing, joke….and he loved Christmas.  To the left is Dad making his Christmas drink, “Tom & Jerrys”.  It’s like a big bowl of cake batter with hot water poured on top and a shot of Brandy and Rum….VERY GOOD and warming.  Dad is also quite over weight in this pic as he had a tendancy to eat too much so he would gain then lose it and gain again.  It definately took a toll on his health.  He is being the typical Dave Raymond here, mugging for the camera while making drinks at Christmas.  I now own the “Tom & Jerry” mugs that are seen on the counter top.  I make “Tom & Jerrys” every year at Christmas and that smell and taste takes me right back to those times.  My Aunt Mary and the rest of us are in the next room waiting for our drinks (the kids got Tom & Jerrys without the booze of course).  Once we all had our drinks, we would open presents.  Dad was a great guy.   I love this picture.  
Dad & Mom – 1982

Mom & Dad went down to Arkansas for my cousin, Deanna’s wedding in 1982.  Dad didn’t get dressed up a whole lot.  But, he was always “on” and  proud at weddings…and my sister’s graduation from college.   They look very happy.  I got married for the first time the following year…he actually put on a tux for that one.  Unfortunately Dad didn’t make it to see me become a father.  If he could be here now and see the 6 grandchildren I have given him, I like to think he would be proud…and get dressed up for something.

To the right is a pic of Dad on our last Christmas together in 1983.  He passed away the following October 29th.  The dogs are “Pookie” a dochshund that my oldest sister gave to Mom & Dad.  Dad didn’t like the dog at first, but secretly would pet her and she came to be his constant companion.  He actually fed her too much and got very fat.  The other dog is mine…his name was “Ralph”.  Dad always liked Christmas and we had lots of love and tradition at our house.  Dad never went to Church and wasn’t particularly religeous so it was mainly about family, Santa and presents….but we always had a GREAT Christmas!

 


One Response to “A Tribute to My Dad, David H. Raymond”

  1. Sandra Palomares says:

    Radio Dad (Mike Austin) is my first cousin, his father was my Uncle Dad, who truly loved family, he always treated me with such love and made me feel like I was one of his daughters. He was my mother’s brother. I loved my Uncle Dave, such a fantastic sense of humor, caring, giving and loving man, God truly Blessed me with a great Uncle Dave. I miss him all the time. Yes he did his share of drinking but he loved his wife and children and extended family. I Love you Uncle Dave and if you are listening I want to wish you HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!! Your neice, Sandra

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