We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sepia Saturday 119 - My Working Dad

This is a pin that my dad wore to work. It looks more like a prison badge!  I don't remember that he worked for Acme Steel Co. I was too young at the time to know where he worked. We lived in Chicago and I'm wondering what the Riverdale refers to. Was this a subsidiary of Acme Steel? It's funny that this badge is so similar to the one on the woman in the Sepia Saturday theme photo.

I also don't remember that he was that short. 5' 8" is pretty short. He seemed really tall to me.

My dad died at the very young age of 42. I was15 at the time. Things were never quite the same after that. 

We had this desk in Chicago that was later involved in all our moves. The desk now resides in my overflowing garage. When I open the middle drawer, it's almost like a shrine to my dad. That's where this badge was. Here's some other things from his work:

He was a design engineer so I can guess that he got lots of use out of this compass and that really thick pencil, too. The two rocks at the top were probably some that he found on one of our rock-hounding trips in the desert. He loved rocks - he should have been a geologist. And if you look really hard at the right of the drawer you'll see my ancient skate key. Remember those?

The red box contains some small wrenches. The ruler is mine. My dad only used one of those fancy kind of rulers that open up several times. I don't know where Julie's was. Those matches look too new to be his and besides he didn't smoke.

This is how he probably looked when he went off to work each day. My mom said that he always took his lunch to work with him - a cheese sandwich. Every day!! Never deviating. I don't think it's because he loved cheese so much as that he loved to save money.

He didn't just work at Acme Steel. He worked at home too. Here he is building a garage in the backyard of our new house in South Chicago:

He wasn't much of a handy man. My mother was the one that did all the repairs around the house. But he did manage to get this garage built, with the help of several of his friends and probably my mother. And he was so proud of it.

I also found this portrait that someone did of my dad. I have no idea who, but it's a pretty good likeness:

But most of all, I remember my dad as a real family man. That's what he worked at the hardest. Since he had grown up in an orphanage, he really devoted himself to us kids.
My sister Barbara on the left, me in the middle and my brother Bob on the right,  about 1945.
Click here to read other stories about work:  Sepia Saturday.


  1. Nancy, that is a beautiful account of your dad. He was a very good looking man, so sad that he died so young. I really like the last picture where he goes out as a proud father with his beautiful children. A very nice memorial to your working dad.

  2. Acme Steel opened a steelplant in Riverdale Illinois in c1918; sometime in 2001 it closed its operations and later became ISG Riverdale.
    In his day before computers design work would be by hand; nowadays his drawing equipment would be obsolete.
    Great tribute to your Dad.

  3. Do you know the choice of that theme would be worth it even if we get no more contributions than yours alone. It is a fascinating piece. And you are right about the similarity between the pins : both are antecedents of the modern photo-pass of the present day.

  4. A lovely tribute to your hardworking Dad. I’m so sorry he was lost to you at such a young age.

  5. Oh, Nancy ... your Dad was a very handsome and loving guy that is easy to see. I'm so sorry that you lost him when you were all so young. This is such a special post, and I enjoyed getting to know him very much. Thank you for sharing this with us.


    Kathy M.

  6. Great pictures! I love the desk drawer - that combination of work life and family life all rolled together. This is a lovely tribute to your dad.

  7. Nancy, thanks for sharing the memories of your father with us. It's a shame he died at such a young age. What a handsome man he was and a good husband and father too. Have you considered taking his work tools & badge, putting them in a shadow box and displaying it in your home? It would be a great reminder of your dad.

  8. That desk drawer reminds me of the desk I had in high school. My father made the desk and there was an old drafting set in it. There could have been some rocks too. I know I had some rocks in my dresser junk drawer.

  9. Lovely post and a fine tribute to your dad.

  10. Oh yes the badges--my family members who worked in mills and plants had those too, but they did not have the photos as I recall and none survived. Interesting post and tribute to your dad. I'd drag that desk drawer inside and perhaps make a shadow box of the contents to display. Oh I just see that Queen Bee suggested the shadow box too.

  11. You have some wonderful memories of your father. So sad that he died at such a young age.

  12. I am so impressed that he built a brick garage. That seems pretty handy! And I do remember those skate keys too. It's a shame he died so young.

  13. What A Marvelous Number Of Images Of Your Dad.A Handsome Chap!
    My Wife Cathy's father died when she was the same age as You.It never easy to lose a Father but particularly so at such a young&Important age X

  14. This takes me back to thoughts of my dad building things at our different homes. I always wonder how many of them still exist because he built them to be permanent.

    Good memories.

  15. Your Dad was very handsome, and I particularly liked seeing inside the drawer (I must be nosy). A lovely tribute to your Dad :-)

  16. A handsome fellow, and in his defense, he was well proportioned, the length of his limbs belying his short stature.

    I remember those fancy rulers as my dad had one, a yellow thing, isn't it? The first time I opened it, I made a mess and couldn't fold it back properly. I was a bit young though...

    Funny though, to be n engineer, and not such a good handyman at home...

  17. Very moving family history. A vivid retelling in pictures and through that personal desk drawer. Handsome dad, too.