Dear Old Dad – This is How I Remember My Pa

I’d like to take a few minutes to remember my dear old Dad, William Tucker. Twenty-eight years ago, on April 8, 1993, he passed away at the age of 86.  Because he suffered a stroke a few years earlier, he spent quite a bit of time in a nursing home on Long Island. 

By the way, we called him Pa.

Earning a living…going from glamour to the factory.

Pa was a midget auto racer during the 1930s and ’40s.

My dear old Dad loved racing cars and motorcycles. He finally chose to focus on midget auto racing because it was exciting and he was good at it. He would occasionally venture out across the country to race, but he usually stayed in the Tri-State area, i.e., New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Although he was usually known as Bill Tucker, he would sometimes go by Hillbilly Tucker. To tell the truth, I’m not sure why. I guess maybe the fans liked it.

There’s a story about a terrible accident Pa was in during a race in Livingston, NJ. He was ejected from his car and in a coma for 3 days. Finally, they released the news that he hadn’t made it. That was quite a surprise to him, as he was home in Bethpage, NY recuperating. The words of Mark Twain certainly applied, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

dear old Dad raced cars
Here’s Pa in #42, the Buckenhoffer Special. He made this frame and put the picture in for me. He called me Barbie D.

When the kids came, it was time to settle down.

In fact, there were 4 kids in our family, 2 girls, and 2 boys. There’d be no Pa without Nanny and she strongly suggested that he get a regular job. And, of course, he did. He went to work at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, NY. It was wartime and building fighter jets was good steady work. He worked there until his retirement at age 62.

Pa and Nanny before they were Pa and Nanny.

Read this Dance Safari post, “For the Love of Nanny – A Tribute to My Mother.

There were lots of parties at our house and at the homes of the aunts and uncles.

Pa was a good-looking, fun-loving guy from a big family of 9 kids. To be sure, those kids learned at an early age that a wink and a smile was the best way to get what they wanted. To say they were charming is an understatement. Not to mention, they loved to party.

Unlike some other family’s get-togethers, Pa made sure ours always included:

  1. Guitars
  2. Harmonicas
  3. Spoons*
  4. Singing
  5. Beer. Lots of beer.

*Oh, yeah, I almost forgot that one of my uncles played the spoons. That was our rhythm section. Lol

There was lots of singing during these parties, but you could always count on at least one version of “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree“. It was a Tucker family classic and all the kids sang along with Pa.

Here are the lyrics as we sang them.

Oh, they cut down the old pine tree
And they hauled it away to the mill,
To make a cabin of pine for that sweetheart of mine,
When they cut down the old pine tree.

Oh, she’s not alone in the hills tonight
That’s where my heart will always be,
Though we’ve drifted apart, gonna cut down my heart
When they cut down the old pine tree.

Pa would always end it with a twangy “ah-hah“. Yeah, those were the days!

As you can see, life with my dear old Dad was very interesting and fun.

One last thing. When I got older and had my license, I’d take Nanny to work on Saturday mornings. Then, on the way home there was always a stop at the bakery to pick up a sweet treat for me and Pa. We’d eat crumb cake and drink coffee as we watched the Saturday morning shows. I guess you’d say that was our family tradition.

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  1. ♡ Thank You for Sharing SupaSoulSis “Barbie D”; so Courageous Baring YOUR!!! Soul


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