A few of Steveís memories of Dad
Dad loved to play golf. And he introduced me to the game. I first remember accompanying Dad to the course when he played in the APCD golf tournaments on so many summer afternoons. His coworkers enjoyed having me along when I was 12 or 13, hitting shots with them out on the back nine.
Well, that is until I started beating them, I guess. In fact, I ended up playing Varsity golf in high school. Dad was very supportive, and helped me to hone my game by coaching me, taking me to pro tournaments to watch the experts, and even by building a canvas driving range cage in the back yard so that I could practice every day after school.
Dad loved the game, and played golf for most of his life. In fact he was still playing the executive courses until just a few years ago.
Dad was always singing, and he had a pretty good voice, too! He loved to harmonize with songs played on the radio or phonograph (and we had all the best broadway musicals on LPs), and he frequently just broke into song around the house or in the car.
And he was a published songwriter. His one published song "Once Again", was published in 1947, and the sheet music sold I donít know how many copies.
I am grateful that I inherited Dadís love of singing and harmonizing.. My life would not be the same without my barbershopping hobby, thanks in part to Dadís musical influence.
Iím sure you all know that Dad was a pack rat for most of his life. He could not bear to throw anything out. "This might come in handy some day for something" he would often say.
Our garage in Downey contained the largest collection of stuff you can imagine. No room for a car, however. Mom had to ford a trail through this enormous collection of stuff just to get to the washer and dryer.
This was not mere junk, mind you. Much of it was functional, or could be made to be functional, Dad thought.
Dadís garage was surprisingly well organized. In that garage, Dad and I spent lots of time cannibalizing broken TV and radio chassis to harvest the electronic components.
We also filled several dozen jars of screws, bolts, washers, and other hardware which came from some of those non-working devices. His jar collection looked almost as well organized as the Home Depot hardware aisle (well not quite).
And Dad had tools of every kind Ė and taught Elliott and me how to use every one of them. Whether it was woodworking, electrical, metal working, or auto repair, Dad had tools for it. Elliott and I still have most of those wonderful tools today, and use them on a regular basis. Dad continues to contribute to our lives every day!
Dadís unabashed curiosity for how things work, and his talent for taking things apart, fixing them and putting them back together instilled in me that same fearless attitude for mechanical or electrical projects. Thanks to dadís training, I am always confident whenever I tackle some project Iíd never done before.
Dad loved to travel. During my youth, the Sterns went on annual summer driving trips. In those years, we visited nearly every state and national park west of the Rockies. These were unforgettable vacations Ė driving, hiking and observing natureís beauty every year. And weíd usually stop at some factory or industrial site on our travels for a behind the scenes tour.
Again, Dadís fascination for how things worked were shared with us on these side trips. These tours were both intellectually stimulating and educational, as well as fun.
You can imagine that camping gear and food for a family of four takes a lot of storage. Most of the camping gear was stored in a large Marvin-designed "bondurie" mounted on the roof rack of our station wagon.
Dad assembled this camping storage contraption by mounting old kitchen drawers, turned vertically, around the outside of a metal frame, which was attached to the roof rack. Dad even installed adjustable shelves into these makeshift cabinets.
And of course, all of those upright drawers formed quite a large central box on the roof rack, where we stored the camping gear, sleeping bags, lanterns, cots, tent, and a whole host of other items that we needed for the trip. Assembling and packing the roof box became an annual ritual for Elliott and me, and I have many great memories of those trips.
I canít leave the subject of the box without a story. One trip, Mom was driving, and went over some railroad tracks. Dad had been sleeping, but the rattle of the tires over the tracks, and having over 100 pounds of camping gear on the roof, was too much for him and he yelled"Slow down- youíve got a load on top of you!" Elliott and I have never forgotten that phrase and teased Mom and Dad often with it on countless occasions ever since.
Frugal to a Fault
Dad loved to take pictures on our vacations, but was always looking for ways to save money. Well one year, Dad discovered that the Super-8 movie camera could take single-frame shots in addition to regular movies at 24 frames per second.
ĎJust imagine how many pictures you can take on a single roll of movie film that way," he thought. So one summer, Dad tested this theory.
The resulting roll of movie film is a classic, as you can imagine. An entire two-week vacation compressed into a single 10-minute roll of Super-8 film. It even has some footage of President Kennedy on it! A few years later, we saw the same film technique used on the Smothers Brothers TV show. Marvinís ground-breaking film technique had hit the small screen - who knew?
So I am definitely Marvinís son. His love of singing and harmonizing, his pack-rat mentality (moderated greatly, of course), his love of travel, his frugal nature, his mechanical abilities, and his natural curiosity for how things worked are all traits I see in myself every day.