Fathers have all kinds of names including dad, pa, daddy etc., but in my life I almost always used the word daddy and sometimes dad to describe my father.

William was the oldest of 9 children and all of his brothers and sisters looked up to him.  That was both literally and figuratively, because as my dad grew, he was tall at six feet two.  Eventually, all my uncles reached six feet, but it took them a while because there was 20 years between the oldest and youngest child.  Dad was called Bill by his siblings and sometimes “The Bishop” because of his strong Christian faith and kind loving ways.   All of the children were involved in The Broadway Methodist Church in Cleveland.

The Holasek family was part of the great immigration from Europe at the turn of the 20th century.  Both his mother and father came from what is now known as The Czech Republic, but grandma was from the Prague area and grandpa from Brno.  They did not know each other in the old country.  Here is a picture of my grandma at 15 the one on the left, and her sister Mary the one on the right.Terzie (15yr) Anatasia Karl Mary

Grandma Terezie (Theresa)  came over here at 17 alone with her sister, never to see her family back home ever again.  Grandpa came over at around the age of 32 and settled in Cleveland to work in his trade of being a butcher.  Grandpa had a lot of missing years in his story.  Orphaned as a child with his brothers and sisters, they went to an aunt, and then a Catholic Orphanage.  He was on his own around age 13.  He came to Cleveland because his brother and family were there.

Dad’s parents met through his mother’s already married sister.  They wed in 1907 the same year dad was born.  He was the only child that had a professional baby picture.Daddy's story-5

Dad always said his father started in the slaughter houses and hated it, but after marrying grandma, they opened a grocery/butcher shop/ tavern.   But after daddy was born Grandma said we’re moving, and only having a grocery/butcher shop.  And there it stood on Nursery Ave in Cleveland about 3 miles east of downtown in the immigrant’s neighborhood.  Grandpa knew a lot of languages and communicated with all the new immigrants in their native language.  The second picture is dad in front of the store.Daddy's story-7

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Grandpa Joseph, Dad, and Uncle Joseph                                                              Grandpa, Dad, sister Teresa, brothers Joe & Ed

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The importance of that store to my father’s history is paramount.   It was in there that daddy’s core values were engrained.  Times were tough for immigrants and everyone in the family worked for the store even at a young age.  As you can see, Daddy learned to be a butcher also.  In that store and the house in the back and above the store, life was harsh.  My dad would tell me how he and his brother slept in the unheated portion of the house over the garage and in the Cleveland winters, ice would be on the floor when they woke up. But that work ethic, and Christian values they were all taught were passed down to all of us.

I remember my Aunt Theresa asking her father why he fed the hobos off the train when the family just scraped by and Grandpa’s answer was, “because you don’t know what it is like to be hungry.”  Grandpa also fed half the neighborhood on credit during the depression.  Methodists are the “salt of the earth” people.  Unlike those who constantly profess and proselytize their religion, my family just simply led the Christian life and taught by example.

My daddy almost didn’t make it as a teenager.  On a church trip, he and two friends that were sisters were taking a hike and drank out of a water spigot along the way.  Daddy became very ill,and it was determined that he had typhoid fever, and that was serious.  Not only that, it was communicable so daddy and grandma were locked up for months in two rooms above the store until he got better.  Daddy didn’t know the two sisters were sick too, but fortunately for them,  word got to their family about dad.  They had been locked up in a mental ward for being out of their head.  High fever I would guess caused it, but just look at the difference of a boy and a girls with the same disease and how they were treated.  So, they got out of the mental hospital, and got medical treatment they needed because of dad.

Daddy was very intelligent, but as the custom in those days in the twenties, dad went up to the eighth grade and then attended trade school.  Somewhere in his early life, he learned to build and fix things.  He could work with wood, finish basements, work on flooring, electrical work, but his wood working was the most beautiful.  The Holaseks were big into recycling everything.  However, that meant that we all learned to keep everything to be used for another purpose:)

Here is my precious family picture of my dad’s family in 1927.  Dad was 20 on far left, then Joseph, Grandpa, Josephine, Grandma holding Edward, the youngest, Theresa, standing, Fred, and sitting George, and Lillian.   Grandma was 44 when Uncle Ed was born.Scan 113410000

Work in the store made for a long day, but then there was the weekends.  My family’s life outside of work revolved around their church.  They were involved in every aspect of the church including the yearly talent shows, and I didn’t know until years later that dad was one of the star actors (It is sometimes the quiet ones)

When the depression hit, Grandpa had 5 sons and there were not jobs to be found.  He bought a small farm and sent several of his children out there to Garrettsville, Ohio to work the farm.  Now that was a harsh place because there was no indoor plumbing or water.   Dad would supervise the farming going out there on weekends which was done mostly by my Uncle Joseph and Aunt Josephine and a homeless man, an alcoholic they took in.  Herman would do anything they asked if he was given an eye opener, a bracer midday, and an evening shot.  Aunt Josephine ran the farmhouse.  They would sell their produce in the store.

Grandpa died in 1938 and my dad’s brothers were still young with Ed only 11 and George 15.  My Uncle George always told me that dad kept him on the straight and narrow.  That he corrected him and disciplined him like a father, and he always appreciated my father’s guidance.

That farm provided for entertainment on the weekends, grand picnics where the church groups would come out for hay rides and pot luck dinners.  Every weekend I imagine there were some family or friends out there.  The farm was auctioned off when the uncles were drafted. (But years later, we would still be allowed to go to a corner of that farm near Nelson’s ledges and continue the family picnics) After the store and farm were gone, dad took a job on the railroad near the home.  Eventually he, my Aunt Theresa and Uncle Joe went to work at The White Motor Company that built White trucks.  He spent his entire career there as part of the union, The United Auto Workers.  He maintained the supply room for the engineers, and  my  Uncle Joe delivered the supplies.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Motor_Company

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Going back and reflecting on the family farm, it was there on one of those family picnics that my dad and mother had their first date and fell in love. Scan 120920006Scan 120920009

                                                                          My parents married in 1943 during wartime. Scan 120920005

And that is when dad became a Presbyterian.  He taught Sunday school to pre teens for many years and was an elder. He also became a Mason.

Daddy and I were forever bonded by the tragedy of my mother’s death which was written about last year.  https://copingmhl.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/easter-1946-mildred-chylik-holasek-easter-2012/

So at that point in my young life, my daddy was the sun in a constellation of family members.

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And every night my daddy would read to me.  It was our special time together and was never missed.

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So I grew up at this house from age 2 to almost 9– 4617 Archmere Ave.   DSC_0890DSC_0861

I am standing by the fireplace that still shows what a crayon can do to brick.   That house remained in the family 65 years until the last uncle chose to go to an assisted living.

Life in that home was a joy.  I lived with 3 uncles, 2 aunts, my grandmother, and my dad.  Grandma spoke mostly Bohemian, but they did not teach my cousin Carol and I so they could talk without us knowing what they were saying.  I once wrote an essay called The Yellow Table.   It was at that table that the family got together every night, said a blessing, had Mrs. Grasses’ noodle soup, and then the meal.   There was a lot of laughter in that home and predictability.  Every Friday night day my uncles played pinochle and their exuberance could be heard throughout the house.  Sundays was church, followed by picnics in the summer and visiting in the winter.  There were family game nights in the basement, and a million family friends.  Then my family’s love of travel began.  That was the beauty of the American dream back then.  If you worked hard, you could own a home, and go on vacation once a year. There was no eating out until the travel began and then it was only 1-2 weeks a year.

There was something that happened in the Holasek family that was very important to everyone especially daddy.   This 1st generation American family’s youngest child, Edward, graduated from Case University on the GI Bill as an electrical engineer.  Dad was so proud of him and I know he was thinking, “he is the first, but there will be more.”   Dad never knew how important my uncle’s work would be since  Edward Holasek was practically one of the inventors of the use of ultrasound in medicine.

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Dad’s life was not all laughter.  He had a serious medical condition, ulcers.  They were bleeding at several times in his life, and medicine at that time was too stupid to realize they were probably caused by a bacteria.  In those days, they just pumped the patient full of milk.  He did have a gastric analysis once that showed NO stomach acid and of course more stupidity on understanding what that meant.  He needed stomach acid to digest his food.  He would lie down after dinner on the floor in agony after dinner.  A good ND would have known what to do.  He had type A blood and people with that type are notorious for having low stomach acid.  And with the family having a butcher background, almost every meal at dinner was meat and a lot of red meat.

When I was almost 9 dad remarried and we moved, and dad started a new family with a step son, Dennis. (He was 11 and went to college at 16)  Life was very different for me and dad in Parma, Ohio.  Then my little brother was born, Jonathan, and dad’s family was complete.  Jonathan William Holasek was born a day before my birthday on February 15, 1956 and was daddy proud.  He had a son with the curliest hair who was destined to be as tall and good-looking as he was.

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I adored my little brother and spent a lot of time watching him.   The family vacations continued and we enjoyed some great times in Florida, Lake Chautauqua etc. When Jonathan was 2 and we were in Florida, dad was assigned to get him his first hair cut.  Daddy goofed and got him a buzz cut and didn’t save one curl.  That was a bad scene.  Here is a picture when Jonathan’s hair came back.

Family 1957 or 1958

As time marches on, I grew up and went to nursing school.  On my weekends at home, Dad and I had to squeeze in alone  time when he drove me back on Sunday.  I had very little money, and dad would give me his winnings at pinochle during his lunch break at work.

After nursing school, I lived on the East side and didn’t get home as much since I didn’t drive.  But when I finally got a car, I could drive across town.  Around this time, I was getting married, and moving to Virginia.   And although he was a very good  guy, the marriage didn’t work out.

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However, dad supported me through my transition, and absolutely adored my new husband, Stacy.

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I wish I could say we spent many years together as a family, but it was not to be.

Two years later, when I was pregnant with my first child, dad called around his 68th birthday to say he had just lost 5 pounds and had a little knot on his stomach.  After a lot of tests, the verdict was metastatic stomach cancer with no cure possible.  The Cleveland Clinic wanted to make a guinea pig out of him, but dad said no.  He took a chemo pill to cut down symptoms.   I gave him all my savings to go to Hawaii with my stepmother and enjoy lying on the beach which was a dream of his.

Also around this time, I was in college part-time ever since Stacy and I married and was to get a Mortar Board award At Mary Washington College for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service.  I knew dad would not live to see my graduation, but he was beaming at that Mortar Board ceremony.  He was also so proud Jonathan was almost through with his college degree at Kenyon.  Dad’s American dream was seeing fruition in his children.

At this point, we didn’t know if dad was going to make it to see his first grandchild, so he came and bought the crib, put it together and fixed up the room.  Three weeks before my due date I ended up in the hospital with what they thought was a gall bladder attack.  I had IV’s and was going home, and I said a prayer.  “Dear God, if this baby isn’t early, daddy isn’t going to see him.”  My water broke 5 minutes later, and the next day, William Stacy Lloyd was born and named in honor of daddy and Stacy his father.  We had him Christened at two weeks of age so dad could see it the day my stepmother’s mother died of cancer, so they had to go home.

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I knew when that car went down that driveway I would never see him in this life again. To this day, I cannot watch any loved one drive down the driveway.  I say good-bye and run into the house.  Three weeks later daddy died, 3 months after his diagnosis.  I was absolutely devastated and made every excuse in the book not to go to Cleveland to the funeral, but a wise minister stepped in and said, “You need to go.”  My Aunt Lil happened to be helping me and stayed and watched William.  Ironically, she was with me at my mother’s funeral.

Dad was buried with a 33 degree Scottish Rite Masonic  service, and the biggest influence on my life was gone.  But dad’s values, his kindness, his absolute adoration of his little girl remains in my heart.  I still miss him terribly.  But when I look at Will now six feet two who not only resembles him, but has his smile, his humor, his personality, and his love of life, it makes me smile.

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But back to 1977, daddy had a surprise as he looked down from heaven, another little girl in his life, whom Stacy wanted to call Holly who was born in July because Hol was the beginning of the name Holasek.  Now daddy was really smiling.

Holly birth weddingHolly birth wedding-1

Both Will and Holly graduated from Randolph Macon college, another proud moment from heaven.

When Jonathan graduated, he moved to NY,  and married and had two more girls, Josephine and Phoebe. More smiles from heaven.  Josephine is now at Duke and Phoebe goes to The University of Colorado  this fall.

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And of course, Will and Holly gave daddy five great-grandchildren.

William John Holasek led a quiet simple life, but his legacy goes on.  And I might add this.  I had a psychic friend, and the first time she saw me, she said, “who is that graying balding man about six-foot two standing behind you?”  “My dad,” I said.  “He’s always with you,” she said.  And I can only assume he is also with Jonathan, Will, Holly, Josephine, Phoebe, Peyton, Carter, Meredith, Jacob, and Grayson too.