Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mark Francis Gerold

I have had creative writers’ block for months.  My Dad passed away this summer, and I thought my next post should be about my Dad, but then I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write about him.  How could I do justice to a lifetime of a complex man in an essay?  I am coming back now to review the notes I wrote for the Pastor who delivered his Eulogy.  I still can’t do much better than this, but I am afraid my perfectionistic tendencies will lead to its never being done.

Dad always was up for a challenge, and he always set our sights high.  He seemed to know exactly how much he could push us to do our best.  He used to take me for bike rides when I was little.  He’d get out ahead of me and go around the next corner, and I’d have to go faster to catch up, but he was always there. On one of these bike rides I said to him, “I love you Dad” and he said, “Yeah but do you like me too?” I said “of course!” Then he said “Well when kids get a little older a lot of the time they don’t like their parents.” I said, “Of course I will always like you!”  And I did. 

Dad was always one of my best friends. As I grew up I knew I could talk to him about anything.  He involved me in all of his projects around the house, and when I had my own house I would feel like he was there with me as I painted and fixed things. When I became an adult, I would have great, lengthy conversations about all kinds of topics.  Sometimes we would have arguments, but we always respected each other, and I really treasured our relationship.

Dad also taught us to be prepared for whatever life threw at us.  He would say to have a plan A, plan B, plan C, and so on, so that we could plan for any contingencies.  If we had inter-personal conflicts at school or work he would do role-playing with us to help us to stand up for ourselves.  He taught us how to play chess, checkers, and backgammon, and never just “let” us win; he taught us the right moves so that we could eventually beat him on our own.  This all taught us to be self-reliant and productive adults.  He always said to us, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Dad was a great role model.  He taught us by example.  Dad read his Bible every night. He kept it next to bed. His faith was solid and set such a great example for us.  Dad also taught us how to take great care of our bodies, “temples of the Holy Spirit”, by exercising, eating healthy foods, and getting a good night’s sleep.  He taught us how to manage our money, and set priorities.  He didn’t believe on spending money on status items.  He said the only things worth investing money in are land, an education, and good experiences.

He also taught us not to procrastinate.  On his desk was a plaque that said “DO IT NOW'.  This was short for:  “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”.

Other notes:

What he did for a living – builder and sales engineer – he and his brother started Gerold Brothers Home Improvement as teenagers, and in his 30s he sold large cooling systems in Manhattan.

How he grew up – in Bethpage Long Island with his 3 siblings

What his hobbies were – swimming, biking, board games.

What made him laugh – talking about what mischief he caused as a kid or what mischief his own kids got into

What music did he listen to – Beach Boys, Rocky Soundtrack.  

I think about Dad when I am doing things that we used to do together.  Swimming, going to the beach, staining the deck, doing any kind of home improvements, playing board games, reading the Bible.  Sometimes I feel his approval when making a decision that upholds the ethics he taught me.  Spending time with family, going to church, saving money, or spending it on worthwhile things and experiences.  Making sure my kids do well in school so they are on track to go to college.  Making sure they have the opportunity to do what it is they excel at.

Dad was 60 years old when he passed away, due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis.   He died the same day as my Grandfather, John S. Nagy.  I know that he is in Heaven now, in the company of my grandfather and other loved ones, free of pain.


Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth, This is not really a comment but I see you have comment moderation turned on so you can delete it with out it getting posted. This is redleg from the Blogger forum. I really wanted to reply to your last response on the forum but the thread got locked before I could respond. First I wanted to say Good luck with your site and say you are certainly welcome, but mostly I wanted to offer my condolences on the passing of your father and say That it is every father's prayer that his children will have the same sentiments as you expressed in your post when he passes.

Barb, ofs said...

What a beautiful tribute to your very special Dad. I'm sure this will be a treasure for your children to read when they grow up so they can know their grandfather in a new way.