Dad and business trip stuff

I’ve yet to ever work any job where I had to travel FOR work. The closest was when I worked for IDMI and would regularly drive between the main office and the warehouse, but given that was a less than 10 minute drive (maybe 5-7?) that hardly counts.

No, by “travel FOR work” I’m talking “being gone” from “home” at least overnight–traveling further than a return-same-day thing. Where you’re “put up” at least overnight somewhere as a result of the job.

While it was hardly “frequent,” I do remember Dad having to travel for work occasionally.

And largely due to what he brought back, I remember several distinct such trips.

First, there was that trip to Detroit, I believe; in 1989/1990…the dawn of the “Turtles Craze” when the TMNT figures were maybe at their height and NO ONE had the actual turtles themselves in stock. Dad had gone on this trip, and when he came back, he had all 4 turtles, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones for me.

Another was Hawaii either end of 1992 or early 1993 when the “Doomsday!” (Death of Superman) cards were the hot thing. He came back with 2 unopened boxes of the cards for me; this yielded (if I recall) at least 3 full sets of the main cards, and a set of whatever the chase cards were (that I’m currently drawing a blank on in 2022).

Of course, both of these trips I would’ve been 8-12 years old, very much a kid, and so it makes sense, I guess, that what stood out was what he brought back FOR ME. There’s also that as a kid, I simply remember/knew that Dad went off to work every day; that he would bowl or golf some evenings after work, etc.

Those turtle figures were a Really Big Deal at the time. I don’t recall FOR SURE but I have this vague notion that he VAAAAAAAASTLY over-paid for them, GIVEN their “hotness” at the time. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking he may have said something about paying around $20/each…but again, that’s a vague notion and I don’t have a solid, specific memory of the number or such. Whatever he paid for them, it was definitely a premium, even by 2022 pricing (5-6 times retail price in 1989/1990!)

And the Superman trading cards…I remember him at some point disclosing to me that he’d paid $90/box for them…that was $180! ($2.50/pack…each box had 36 packs). And again, that was 1992/1993. Even now in 2022 I’d be really gritting my teeth and thinking hard about having to pay $90 for some cards, EVEN in 2022 buying a now-vintage box of those very same cards!

But these were a couple things where they were stuff I was VERRRRRRY much wanting at the time, and they were sold out/unable to be found locally, but when he found them while he was traveling for work, he splurged on ’em, to be able to make his son happy. As an adult, I’ll regularly travel certain distances “hunting” some particular figure or such; though these last couple months ESPECIALLY that particular interest has been sorely dimmed. I definitely do not remember Dad ever doing that for anything for himself (not the way I do, anyway!); so his going out of his way and looking for stuff while traveling was that much more significant to me and my memories.

And while it wasn’t so much bringing something back for ME; another “travel for work” I remember was his going to Washington, DC for a few weeks in 2001 or so. I don’t recall what FOR; but it was a few weeks, and I was working at the summer camp in Michigan that summer; so the only real impact for ME (since I myself was gone most of 10 weeks!) was one weekend that I did drive back to Eastlake to ‘visit’ and Dad was gone at the time. I don’t recall the full context, but I remember that summer being when he started using a cane.

As I think about that now, I realize that means it was about 16 years–more than 1/3 of my life–that he had/used canes; though on THAT I don’t really recall it being quite so prominent a thing until years later when he got more reliant on the cane. And of course after he fell in 2017 and was in the nursing homes, the rest of the time it was the powerchair, wheelchair, or walker(s) rather than a cane.

I know he likely traveled for work more than that, but those stand out most to me in MY memories. And these do not get into the fact of his military service and being stationed around the world (like Guam). I was born on Guam; he was restationed to the Detroit area and then Cleveland before retiring. So all the world-traveling was before I was born. I suppose that stuff would be fitting for another post, where I’ll need to talk more to Mom for details!

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