Category Archives: Father’s Day

Gifts From My Father

 

My Dad, in his younger car selling days!

My Dad, in his younger car selling days!

The year was 1980. I had finished college by then and left my first real job. The main catalyst for my move home was my boyfriend. Jack and I broke up after he moved back to Florida, and I was floundering like a fish out of water.

I went to the home of my childhood, back with my mom and dad. At age twenty one and after being on my own for almost four years, this was bittersweet. Though I was glad to be back home, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with myself.

After applying for several jobs and not getting anywhere, a month passed and I was even more restless. During that month, my dad asked me three times to come and work for him. He didn’t yell or pressure me. He just asked. Finally, on the third time, when I had no other options, I said yes.

My dad owned a Nissan dealership back then. And he didn’t take his oldest daughter to work in the office. No. He took me to sell cars. Now this was 1980 remember and seriously, there were no women car salespersons.

I remember that I had to learn to qualify people. If they had a big family, I’d recommend a station wagon, not a sportier two door coupe. I also learned to take my time with people, showing them the benefits of each car and taking them for a test drive. I treated people as I would have wanted to be treated, with kindness and respect. I took their concerns seriously and they responded.

There were weeks that I outsold the sales manager, a guy who had been with my father for years.

I was selling cars when I met my husband Jim. The first time Jim walked me to my car (at the disco where we first met) my dad had loaned me a 280Z for the night. I imagine my husband thought I was one lucky girl!

I sold cars for a little over a year then I got engaged. When I got married I didn’t think the car business was conducive to a new marriage. Too many nights and steady Saturdays. So I left the car business but never forgot the lessons I learned.

On this Father’s Day 2014, I salute the fact that my father believed I could succeed in a male dominated field. He encouraged me, taught me good salesmanship and loved the fact that I was there with him. We had many good conversations about life and the future. I cherish those memories and the skills he taught me. Thanks Dad!

 

 

Please follow and like us:
998

A Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

I can’t believe it has been 16 years since your passing. It was Father’s Day 1997 when Mom called to relay the news that you breathed your last breath. Uncle Jim G. was so mad because he had to leave his vacation in Yellowstone Park! Ha! But I knew the aunts and uncles would never miss your funeral. Vacation or not, they would be there….

I was not upset that you passed on Father’s Day. It actually caused me to smile because I could imagine you saying from heaven, “NOW you’ll never forget me!”. But truly Dad it would be impossible to do so.

Dad and I

Dad and I

Because you, like me, were an oldest child and it was you who stepped up, was responsible and felt the pressure. You made your presence known in a big way and I learned from your example to be a person who honors their word.

Jim and I mentioned the auto auction the other day, the one you used to take me to occasionally. For a few brief moments I could smell the sauerkraut on the hotdogs that you would buy us in the cafeteria. Mom would NEVER make anything like that at home but you introduced me to sauerkraut and I have loved it ever since!

I am grateful that you and I got to work together at the car dealership for those few precious years. You trusted me enough to leave me in charge when you and mom went away on vacations. That meant much to me and taught me great leadership skills.

Someone I was with last night mentioned Kennywood Park and I was again taken back to the times when you and mom would accompany Jim and I and the kids for a day at the amusement park. You and mom would walk around, eat all the great carnival food with us (their cotton candy was fabulous!) and watch the kids ride the roller coasters. I didn’t know then but I do know now what precious times those were.

I am trying to pay attention to those things I do lately which at first glance may seem insignificant, but could become life long good memories for Michelene, John and Gavin. The day will come when they will remember this and that about me and I want those moments to be fond remembrances, like the ones I have of you.

I am more and more aware of how short life really is. I try to remember how precious each day is and to have gratitude for all my blessings.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!!

One of my favorite pictures!

One of my favorite pictures!

Please follow and like us:
998

5 Things My Dad Taught Me

Boy, was he handsome!

What can I say about my Dad? He was many things to me- father, role model, confidante and best friend. In my earliest recollections of him and in pictures, he was a happy go lucky guy, a huge presence with a big voice and a firm handshake. Everyone knew him as “Big Mike”. He had many friends, he loved to dance and he knew how to have a good time.

Dad was 6’4″ tall, a BIG GUY and he and my mom together raised three daughters. This, I think, must have been his worst nightmare at times, as his parents were Greek immigrants and Greeks, in my opinion, are STRICT with their daughters! He was no exception to this fanatical rule.

Here are some special things I remember about my dad. When he finally gave me permission to go to the prom in eleventh grade, there were tears in his eyes (initially he told me NO), he brought a football to the hospital when my son was born (remember, he had three daughters), he took me to car auctions where we ate hot dogs and sauerkraut (my mom hated sauerkraut and never made it!). Also, he loved chocolate covered peanuts and bushels of hard shell crabs.

Here are the 5 most important things my Dad taught me:

1. Love people for who they are. My Dad sold cars made in Japan (Nissans) when they first came to the USA. He was a top turret gunner in the Air Force during WWII but he held no prejudices.

2. Live Life to the fullest. Work hard but play hard and enjoy yourself. Dad loved to invite his buddies over for loud Greek music, shots of Ouzo and midnight dancing in the living room.

3. Have integrity. I sold cars with him for a few years. Once, I made a bottom line deal on a car and the buyers pulled out a newspaper ad for $100 off any car. I was ticked. My Dad said, “Honor it”.

4. There is no substitution for good salesmanship. Dad would look people in the eye, compliment them and always find something of common interest to talk about. To this day, my sisters and I share this character trait and I know we got it from him.

5. Do what you say. If he told you he was going to be somewhere at a certain time, he was there. He did not go back on a promise. He taught us to be on time, be responsible and STEP UP.

Dad passed away 15 years ago on Father’s Day, 1997. When I tell people this it always brings forth a sad comment. But at that time, I saw his humor in choosing that day to go. I could just picture him saying, “You’ll not forget me now!” Truly Dad, that would be impossible.

Please follow and like us:
998