Memories of my father and how his influence made me me

As we move to the end of the year, it is a time many people become more introspective and thoughtful. As I was looking at a friend's post on Facebook tonight where he showed the rocks he polished in his tumbler, it brought back memories of my father. When I was little, my father was the one who took me to all the rock shows (not concerts but tradeshows showing products for collecting rocks, rocks for sale, and jewelry made with rocks.)

It was Dad who bought me a geology kit (and a biology kit). He bought me books on rocks and always made sure we stopped at any shop that sold rocks when we went on vacation. I bought home rocks I found along my walks.

Memories of my father - Writing and Reading

Both my parents loved to write, probably where I got it from too. My brother, Andrew Plath, also writes. My mother wrote lots of letters all through her life. My father wrote stories. They both loved to read too. It is probably why there are books in every room in our present home. My Kindle has 3000 books too - most are fiction and most of them I got through BookBub for free.

Memories of my father - Photography

My father as long as I can remember had a camera. He had a Leica camera and shared his passion for photography by taking family photos and giving slide shows on the stairway wall. He also took photos of events and nature. My brother definitely followed that passion and has evolved his photography by combining it with writing a book (Hidden Gems of Central Wisconsin), a blog, and also entering multiple photography challenges, like Gurushots.

Andrew PlathI don't have any photos taken by my dad but the one above is one of my favorites of my brother's photos but it was hard to choose.

Memories of my father - Baking Bread and Cooking

My dad taught me how to bake bread. I still love to bake my own bread but it was Dad who taught me how way back when. He loved to cook and even more, he loved to read cookbooks. He had so many. (Might be why I also have many cookbooks.) My favorite memory of dad was the time we were making stew. Somehow we read the recipe wrong and put 4 tablespoons of black pepper in the stew. Guess that wasn't for dinner that night!

Dad brought home things like lobster. We weren't wealthy but he knew my mom and I loved it. Mom wasn't so fond of cooking it at home but it was always delicious when he made it. Dad and I both loved liver and onions, mom wouldn't touch that!

Memories of my father - Fishing

Dad loved to fish and in my early years, I went with him. Later on, my brother joined him when they went on camping trips and other fishing excursions. It also made me love rivers and lakes.

Memories of my father - Gardening

My mother and father both loved gardening. Mom grew prize-winning gladiolas in my early years. There were always flowers in the yard and vegetables in the garden. I still garden today too.

Memories of my father - Creative and Innovative

As you might have already figured out, most of what makes me, Julie, comes in great part from my dad. He was always exploring. He signed me up as a Boy Scout before that was allowed just to see what would happen. Nothing did then but it might have been why I became an Explorer Scout in my later high school years. (a story for another day).

Memories of my father - A Helping Hand

My dad was always willing to help me. When we only had one car, he drove my sons to school from the preschool days through elementary. When I needed rides to my meetings, he always gave me a lift. He took me to doctor appointments and always was on time.

Thinking back, this is how I remember my father

I remember all of those things about my father. In many ways, he shaped my life. But what happened before I was born changed his life. My father was a veteran. He served in World War II. He met my mom after he got back. They were married in 1955. I was born in 1956. My father was diagnosed with a mental illness and sent to a veteran's hospital for a year early in their marriage. Over the years, the diagnosis was repeated but doctors told me as an adult that they really didn't know what it was that caused his symptoms.

My dad held a job pretty much continuously until he was in his 60's. He worked for a cable TV company most of my life and when he couldn't do that he had a maintenance job at the library. But he struggled with that mental illness too and it affected our lives. People didn't understand and some were very cruel.

It was only in recent years talking with clients that I realized he probably had PTSD, which is also a mental illness but very different than the one we lived in the shadow of during our lives. His symptoms fit PTSD. But no matter what illness he had, it was an illness and I struggled with so many people who only saw him as different.

I struggled with the way others saw my father. I saw some of what they saw, but I also saw the man who loved writing, reading, baking, cooking, photography, fishing, and so much more. He built and flew model airplanes, he loved planes and we went to air shows at the local airport.

How does this fit in with job search?

I think my dad also taught me to be brave and that quitting wasn't an option. He kept a job even when he probably could have filed for disability. I never felt like we lacked when I was growing up.

He made it easy for me to love writing and helping others. Dad also taught me to be compassionate and to listen to learn what people are really about instead of making assumptions. Thank you, Dad!

My business really didn't take off until after he died in 2007. In fact, my mom died before it really started reaching nationwide and executive job seekers. Neither of them lived to see this website or the certifications in resume writing that I have been awarded. But I know that both of my parents would be happy to see where Design Resumes is going today.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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