Big Day For Dad
Today’s blog isn’t about my Phillies. It is about someone special in my family.
For the first time in our family’s history, we have a 100-year-old. Say hello to my dad, Lester who reached that lofty number today. Younger sisters Corinne Krall, Rochelle Ebling and I will have lunch with him today in Stone Ridge Village, an assisted living facility in Myerstown, PA, where he resides.
When the grandchildren started to expand the family he became known as “Gramps.”
This Saturday we’ll have a little family party with him including seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Don’t tell Dad, but Phillie Phanatic will be there with a special gift, a Phillies jersey, “Shenk 100.”
As can be expected for someone his age, Dad has some health issues, hearing, eyesight and mobility. His mind is still good. Up until about two years ago, his day included time in the wood shop. He was very handy with wood, probably from the fact his dad was a carpenter. That skill never got passed on to me.
Christmas presents often included something he made. Everyone in the family got one. Everyone.
He worked as a tool maker in the Bethlehem steel plant in Lebanon, PA, his whole life. Remember him telling me, “I don’t care what you do but I’ll keep you from working in the steel mill.”
Dad took me to my first baseball game, the Red Sox and the Philadelphia A’s at Shibe Park. I was about 10 years of age. Some guy named Ted Williams played for Boston.
I still remember the excitement of seeing the ballpark for the first time, walking up flights of stairs to our seats and then being overwhelmed at the sight of a big green baseball field.
Dad obviously was a huge baseball fan. Our conversations often included advice from him as to how the Phillies should be managed. “Can’t bat Howard fourth. He strikes out too much.”
He was one of five children born to Alma and Harry Shenk and spent his entire life in Myerstown. He was a talented Baritone singer, Lebanon County’s best. He was good enough to perform in a show at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel with Jo Stafford, a popular female vocalist at the time. The year was 1945.
100 years ago:
US Population, 100,546,000
Average income, $1,076.00
DOW average, 99.15
New home (median price), $4,800.00
New car, $500.00
Gallon gas, 8 cents
First class stamp, 2 cents
Bread, 7 cents
Coffee, pound, 30 cents
Butter, pound, 36 cents
Dozen eggs, 34 cents
Milk, quart, 9 cents
Happy 100th, Dad. Love you.