(Dad and his favorite hat- 2007)
I guess you could say I have always been a "daddy's girl" growing up I always loved helping my dad, watching him fix our cars, and even mowing the lawn when the boys all moved out and dad could not do as much as he did before. He and mom came to America in the late 60's from the island of Tonga. They sought a better life for us and worked hard to buy their own home within a few years of living in the states. My father is definitely a hard worker and an entrepreneur naturally, he taught my brothers to work hard by starting a landscaping business, in the summers my dad and brothers would be gone all day until sunset. He and my mom opened up a bakery in the 80's even with 14 kids they tried to make their own dreams of business success a reality. It was such a fun childhood for me to have access to baking things and helping to do things from time to time, I was only 5 or 6 years old but I still have fun memories and can remember the smell of the bakery to this day. There were some hard times that came with the bakery opening, we had a break in and soon after the break in, my older brother who was 7 at the time was struck by a car (but thankfully survived) while my parents were away for a few hours. This caused my father a great deal of stress and eventually he and mom closed the business because his health began to decline due to the stress. He worked for the church for many years and it was a job he loved as building maintenance worker. He took pride is his job. He retired after wards but then continued to work to earn extra income for our family. It amazes me that he was able to support 14 children without assistance from any source and we were blessed to have mom at home all the time until I was a bit older. I am so grateful to my dad that he believed that it was a blessing and not a sacrifice that he and my mom both believed it was vital to have our mother at home. We always seemed to have more than enough. We grew our own fruits and veggies and mom made wonderful clothing for us. I loved having such a simple but family filled life. My husband and I share the same beliefs in simple living and the importance of having me stay at home with the kids and I am sure our kids will be grateful as I am. Within the past 8 years my dad’s health has declined due to suffering from multiple strokes, he has lost a lot of important brain function, that has caused him forgetfulness, loss of full mobility in his legs, and hearing loss. Though he has been through a great deal of trials physically and he does not speak much, it is evident and amazing that though his body is weak his spirit still has great strength, faith and love for each of us, our mom and the Lord.
We are so grateful to still have time with our dad and look forward to many more years and memories to come.
(Dad helping one of his grand-daughters learn to walk- 1990's)