Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Daughter’s Speech About Her Dad’s Life

I’m a very new member of Toastmasters and the first speech you present is called an “ice breaker”. The purpose of the speech is to talk about yourself or your family so your club members can learn more about you. I decided to talk about my dad so people can get to know me better through talking about his life and to paint a picture of him and his personality and what kind of dad he is.

Of course I didn’t present it word for word as below but most of it I was able to say. My mom gave me persmission to post it on this blog. Since the speech was only 5 min., I only mentioned highlights. I got emotional through some spots but made it through. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Below also includes trigger words that helped me keep on track and not forget anything.

The photo at the right was taken in 1966, the year I was born. It hangs on a wall in my home.

Freedom, Liberty and Justice...
Those are the names my dad gave to each of his dogs. But my dad’s life has been nothing but what those words stand for. Dad’s mom abused him physically and verbally and when he was a teenager he was diagnosed with Manic Depression which is now called...Bi-polar Disorder. (it basically means a person has extreme high and low moods with normal moods in between). Many famous people have this disorder. Currently though my dad has been missing from CA since 2006.

My Speech
My speech isn’t about me but about my dad David...because if it wasn’t for him and my mom Betty, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. My dad was married twice and he has 5 kids and 9 grandchildren (I have a brother, 2 half-brothers and 1 half-sister). He is also a draftsman, inventor, mechanic, artist, loved nature and animals and is a poet...who happened to have a mental illness.

A Poem by Dad
Love has no boundaries of time or space. It survives forever without nourishment or encouragement to flow forth as the pure water from the blossum of the Earth’s Heart.

Hole in Heart - Ring
My dad was born with a hole in his heart and you could say there has always been something missing from his life and that is “the ability to have a normal life”. The symbol of a heart has always been important to my dad. For my 16th birthday my dad made me a ring with 2 hearts out of a silver dollar. I rarely ever take it off. He previously made one for my mom. On Valentine’s and my Birthday he would always find a way to send me cards, despite his illness.

First Met
My mom and dad first met in 1960. My mom didn’t know he had an illness. My mom said, “He was very romantic and handsome, handy with his hands and a quick mind. His pride and joy was a 1940 Ford Convertible”. He actually gave me a 1950 Pontiac Sedan Delivery which I promised I would never sell, so I hope some day to restore it.

Early 60s - Draftsman
In the early 60s he was a Draftsman by trade and my mom said he was probably following in his Father’s footsteps. And maybe that is why I’m a Graphic Designer today.

Pasadena, CA
In 1961, mom and dad fell in love and got married in Pasadena, CA.

Company - Glove Molds - Inventor
My dad worked for a company that manufactured glove molds for examinations. He was fascinated by the process and they were having problems making molds that were satisfactory. So he started to experiment and solved their problem and became head of the department. Legally the company took credit for my dad’s work. He eventually lost that position due to his illness.

My Brother - First Time Dad Got Help
My brother Ryan was born in 1963. And it was 1966 when my dad got psychiatric help for the first time. It was the year I was born. His episodes of illness became more serious. My mom was very concerned about dad and his prospects for recovery so she met with his psychiatrist. Mom was told that dad will never recover fully but will gradually, over time get worse. He advised her to leave and get on with her life. So she moved us all back to Santa Cruz, CA, which is where I was born.

It Wasn’t Until I Got Older - Reading - Vacations - Wedding
It wasn’t until I was much older that I could tell when my dad wasn’t dad. But through the bad times there were many happy highlights. Dad reading to me when I was younger and sounding out the characters, the many wonderful family vacations and most recently giving me away along with m step-dad at my wedding. Everyone loved him and he danced up a storm with my friend. I did everything I could when I was with my dad to give him a normal life; at least for that moment.

Loaded 38 Revolver - Divorced
In 1974 my dad had another episode that changed my life forever. I was 8 years old and my brother was 10. He got fired and was pissed off. He pointed a loaded 38 revolver at my mom and said to her “get me money and my keys and clothes and I’m taking off...”. My parents divorced soon after.

Through the Years - Worst Nightmare - Lillian
Through the years dad was in and out of mental hospitals and I have always feared that my worst nightmare would come true and it did in April of 2006. My dad went missing in Westport, CA which is along the coast. Foul play is suspected. But at the same time the best joy in my life happened. I was pregnant for the first time. But I wasn’t able to contact my dad to let him know before he was officially declared missing a few months later.

Blog - Facebook - Fundraiser - Family
I started a blog and a group on Facebook about my dad’s case and I’m working on putting together a fundraiser to raise money for a PI and to remind people out there that my dad existed because eventhough he is labeled missing; to me it feels like he is gone forever. Our family wants closure and we want dad believed in it.



No comments: