Monday, December 12, 2011

Born September 3rd, 1937

I love my Daddy, born Aristeo Gomez, but known as "Ted Gomez" over the years. Born and raised in west Texas, in the Stamford-Anson region near Abilene. They were pretty poor--it was during the Depression, after all, that he was born--but things got even rougher when his mother (Dominga) left her husband (Jesus) and all the young kids to go chasing after another life, maybe another man--as I've heard. As the second-oldest child, Daddy had to quit school (after 6th grade) to stay home and help Jesus with work in the pastures (Daddy drove a tractor at the age of 12) and raising his siblings (Wendell, Paul, Adela, Lorenza, Stella, Ray, Martin, and Wally). He was gentle and creative, I imagine, because he certainly was by the time he got to raise me, my brother Ted, and sister Miranda. As a father, he was consistently very attentive, nurturing, and patient.

We heard that he once caught a baby raccoon (or two?) and gave it to his sisters for a pet. And for Christmas, all Jesus was able to provide was a paper sack with peanuts and maybe an orange or apple in it.

By the time Daddy was in his early 20s, he was a seasoned hard worker, enough so to have saved earnings to buy himself a new car. He dressed in the coolest threads, Levis and sports shirts and penny loafers. Or in a Western style, cowboy boots and snap-button Western shirt, again with the Levi jeans. And always, the well-coifed hair, with the help of the ever-present Three Flowers Brilliantine styling gel. (To this day, Mama says that whenever she has a chance to take a whiff of Three Flowers it reminds her of Daddy.) Daddy was definitely something to look at. Which is why I often refer to him--when describing him to my friends--as the "Mexican or Chicano James Dean." I really hope that he was happy and had great adventures in the years after he was done raising his siblings and before he had a family of his own.

Love you forever, Daddy.

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