Recently I found this photograph from 1982 of three of my sisters-in-law standing in front of my parents’ house.
Judging by their attire, the girls must have stopped by the house after a soccer game. Bud and I were in Syracuse, so they stopped by to see my family. My family and the Zaengle family are intertwined in so many ways.
A few years later, Mary, the one in the middle, lived with my parents for a while. I can remember my father telling me how much he liked to see the wild outfits that Mary wore. She was (and is) much more fashion-forward than I will ever be.
I asked Mary if she had any stories to tell about my father from when she lived there. She said,
The picture of a gentleman. Steady and calm.
I always appreciated being able to live with your family. I loved that DP was always still awake when I got home from work, even if I worked later than normal. He said that he liked to see what crazy outfit I was wearing but it felt to me like he wanted to be sure I was safe and sound. I never felt like an inconvenience but more an instant part of the family.
Whenever we were just talking, about nothing in particular, he was always attentive. He had time to talk and never made you feel like he had to get going. Little things like that stuck out to me.
Classy, cool dude.
My parents were role-models for hospitality. They welcomed so many people into their home.
Monti, my brother Peter’s friend, also stayed with my parents for a few years. He sent this to us before my father’s birthday party.
When I was attending graduate school at SUNY Oneonta, Don and Elinor invited me to live at their home. They provided me with a welcoming home, and a second family while I went to school. I feel like I became their fourth son. I attended family events, church, art show openings, Hall of Fame dinners, ran in two triathlons, and paddled the General Clinton canoe regatta with Jimmy. I took Natalie (the sheep dog) for walks, and watched her chase chickens and steal corn off our roadside stand. …
Monti’s wife Jennie added this:
I remember how much I loved coming to visit, and how welcome Dr. and Mrs. P always made me feel. There were so many fun things to do, like taking Natalie for walks, helping in the kitchen, listening to the Kingston Trio on the reel-to-reel, and double dating with Dr. & Mrs. P to get ice cream at the brand-new Stewart’s…
When we had our first baby, we stopped to visit on the way home from the hospital, so they were the first to see Alyson. Monti and Alyson stayed with Dr. and Mrs. P when Justin was born, as well.
As I’ve worked this month to write stories about my father, I’ve been struck again and again by how very blessed I’ve been by my parents. My father was a mentor to many, generous with his time, kind, and compassionate. He served his country and his community well.
He is very loved by so many people.
Plus, he’s a cool dude.