A Tribute to my Dad

Father’s Day 2017

The photo was my dad’s high school graduation picture.

Born in 1912, he lost his father to the influenza epidemic in 1918 at 6 years old.

He had a very loving Mother, but in the early years, she ignored him while she was healing her own broken heart at the loss of her husband.

He went to the University of Pittsburgh in 1930 and graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1934.

He had always loved chemistry, and got into quite a bit of trouble as a boy, doing experiments in the basement. As the story goes, he even blew up part of the outside wall, when something went wrong, and then learned his lesson by rebuilding that part of the house.

He was always good with his hands and could fix anything.

He built one of the first radios to listen to the first radio station which was in Pittsburgh and started broadcasting in 1920. I doubt that Dad build a radio when he was 8, but he was one of the first people to have a radio and listen to its broadcasts.

I remember having a television when I was as young as 3. (1952) We got a station with some careful fine tuning from Cleveland and also got TV from Pittsburgh. Relatives would come over at night to watch the test pattern on the screen until the programming would begin at night. I think my Dad had also built that TV set.

I was lucky to have him as my father. He loved me unconditionally. “He was lucky enough to have a favorite son and a favorite daughter,” having only one of each.

He loved my Mother with all his heart. He used to say that she was as beautiful at 50 as she was the day he met her. How lucky I was to be born in a home where both my parents loved each other and gave us the foundation of unconditional love.

My joke was that I chose my parents well before I was born. My Mom would always reply that I must have been hatched; no daughter of hers would say such a thing.

My Dad instilled in me that I could be anyone that I wanted to be, and accomplish anything that I set my mind to. I was, after all, a Hunsinger (my maiden name).

I honor my father for his acute intelligence, his kindness, and his ethics. If he went to sell something, most likely he undersold it to someone that really needed it. He had a heart of gold.

One of the most endearing things I remember about my Dad is that like the Pennsylvania Germans before him, when he got annoyed, his sentence structure came out like Pennsylvania Dutch, similar to phrases like, “throw Papa down the stairs his hat.” or, “Throw Mama off the train a kiss.”

For my Dad, it came out “don’t stand down to cook” or my favorite, when he was at a meeting for my Junior High parents, when he stood up to introduce himself, he said, “I am George Hunsinger, Cheryl’s mother”. It took me years to live that one down.

Interestingly enough in writing my book, I discovered that I too inherited some of the German phraseology, even though German was not an early language that I learned. It took quite a bit of editing to get that corrected in my manuscript.

He had a marvelous sense of humor about himself, which I would like to think I inherited. We used to sit around the dinner table and recount funny stories about ourselves. He taught me to stay humble at my foibles, and poke fun at myself.

But today, I want to remember his for all of the things he taught me about the environment. You see, my Dad passed away when I was 24, and he was quite the visionary. He instilled in me the knowledge that our precious earth resources were not finite. That we needed to conserve water and electricity and all of our energy sources. That we needed to recycle as much as possible and that we needed to be thrifty. Not because we could or could not afford them, but because at some point, if we didn’t, we would no longer have them to spare.

It is no wonder that I have become an environmental rebel against toxins and waste. That I am horrified as climate change is ignored. That I am appalled that there are so many toxins in every area of my life. And that the lack of consideration for these things has made our planet sick, and that it made me sick, and that it is one of the reasons the United States is 37th in the world in health, in spite of being the richest country on the planet.

I am proud that a little bit of my Dad lives on in me, and I want to share it with others, and help them with all of the things I have learned about toxins.

We can eliminate them in our lives, and find wellness again. If we react now, we can even save our families, our children, and our planet.

You have been on my mind a lot lately, Dad, and I thank you, for all that you were, and for all that you encouraged me to be. I love you and I am grateful to have had you are my Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

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