Looking for dad [continued]
A pop box was on the ground next to the soda pop cooler. The box was almost filled with empty bottles. I knew that each bottle had a two cent deposit. Nobody was looking when I put eight of those pop bottles into my bike's basket and drove away from the gas station. I knew that swiping stuff was wrong. But I did it anyway.
I drove my bike along the same route that I took that morning when driving to the airport. Along Washington Boulevard to Atlantic, then north on Atlantic to Whittier. When I arrived at Stan's DriveIn, I bought a 15 cent hamburger with the money from returning the pop bottles. That burger was so good! And it gave me energy to continue biking back home.
By the time I came to Eastern Avenue, it was late in the afternoon. I walked my bike up almost all of the Eastern Avenue hill and biked the three blocks from the top of the hill to my home on Woolwine Drive.
I had driven all the way to the airport and back, looked for my dad, and did not find him. I did not know it then, but I would live out all my childhood years and never find him.
9AM - Thinking about my dad
My closest times with my dad happened during 1973, 24 years after the 1949 bike ride to the airport. I was the manager of a metal goods manufacturing company, and had taken on a large government contract to produce artillery shell parts for the Vietnam War. We were having problems with production. My dad was an extremely talented manufacturing and tool engineer. I hired my dad to be the manufacturing manager of the company, with the express purpose to resolve these problems. In only a couple of weeks, my dad had everything running smoothly. He was that good.
Every lunch time, my dad and I would drive to a local park and play chess. It was a good time for the both of us. My dad got sick that very same year. It turned out that he had a congenital heart defect which subjected him to great risk from infections contracted during dental work. My dad died in October, 1973, nine days short of his 61st birthday.
Location: El Chaco RV Park
Elevation: 15 meters