Roy Noel (and Jack Noel), told by Jennifer Noel

Your grandfather, my father, died in July of 1974. I was 29. Just returned from a three week trip to Europe with the Pennsylvania Ambassadors, a group of about 200 kids in three musical groups…..a chorus, band and jazz band. We toured England, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A fun trip. I saw the queen of England riding side-saddle in a parade on her birthday. You mentioned that your grandfather didn’t talk to you. He wasn’t into spending time talking. He was a “doer”.

He worked two jobs for most of his life and knew how to fix almost ANYTHING around the house. He did so many things for your dad when he bought the house you grew up in…….and he would have done anything for him. He thought you were an absolutely beautiful child. I remember when my mother baby sat you for about two weeks when your mother had her appendix removed. He took loads of pictures of you…..having your bath in the kitchen sink and lying on the kitchen table on a blanket, playing peek-a-boo with you.

I have NO childhood memories of him holding me, hugging me, or doing anything with me. He was always working….providing for his family. He nearly built the inside of the house on north Main St. in Spring Grove. Before we moved in, it had no electricity. He wired the entire house. It had no sewer. He had one of his co-workers from Reads Standard, in York, helped him install the sewer pipes. I remember it because they melted five pound pieces of lead to pour around the joints to seal the pipes together. It had no furnace. It had ONE running faucet in it. He put the toilet, bath tub and shower in. Built a bathroom. There was none. My room was split into two room so the house could have a bathroom. He put wall board on all the walls because the walls were nearly rotten. Later, he cemented the cellar.

Installed the washer and dryer. His way of showing love to me was to “be there” for me. It is probably the single most influential reason that I have never married…….because I never learned how to relate to available men. The one relationship that I did have with Charlie Reed (he was a real darling)….graduated from Millersville with a BS in Secondary Ed. English major. He broke up our relationship because he got tired of hearing me say that I didn’t think I was good enough for him. Actually I was………I just didn’t feel worthy….because my father never gave me any attention.

That’s how it works, you know. So, the point being, it wasn’t that he didn’t love you……..he just didn’t talk about it. I hope this brings some light on the subject.

Father Son Traditions

Yesterday, you heard a promise.  Here it is, the traditions a mid life Father put in place, using a lion’s share of midlife creativity.  It would be easy to discount their value, because they are so simple.

  1. Bear Hug
  2. One, two, three
  3. Twistee Treat Day
  4. Food For Families
  5. Dinner Prayer
  6. You’ll never get in trouble for being honest
  7. If you lined up all the boys in the world….

What simple, repeatable traditions do is ingrain key messages.  Simple messages.  Life altering messages.

While we are insanely busy, we all have one life to live. We ought to be insanely thankful for that, and then set out to make the most of it.

PS.  If you regularly follow Mid Life Celebration, you already know there’s a really strong chance each tradition will be explained in future posts, maybe as soon as tomorrow.  And if f you’re new here, welcome.

Mid Life Creativity

Do you ever have moments, seasons, or even longer stages of life where you question many things? Or maybe you find yourself lost and confused. Or, overwhelmed.

Mid Life creativity is critical in moving from a mid life crisis to a mid life celebration.  Several times yesterday, I thought about it being Monday. Monday is “Twistee Treat Day”.  And so is Friday.

Seemingly insignificant, or trivial, at first glance, isn’t it?

You see, as a mid-life father of a nine-year old, in many ways, I was a “fish out of water” when our son was born.

What to do, right?  Well, it seemed like a good idea to find small ways to create lasting memories (traditions).

Perhaps the main reason this is challenging for me is because, when I tried to recall these things with my Dad and my Grandfather, I was coming up empty.  Both men loved me and I loved them.

I just simply don’t remember any special things that we did together.

Tomorrow I’ll share a creative mid-life list of some of the things that are so simple, and yet so significant, that they will last  life time.  Who wouldn’t want that?