One Year

Posted May 11th, 2011 in Memories of Horst, Photos of Horst and tagged , by neil

Papa getting photos of Brody in the sandbox. Nov, 2009

It’s tough to put into words how it feels for this milestone to arrive; One year has gone by since he’s passed. Although it may sound like a cliche figure-of-speech, but I can truly say that there has not been a day gone by that I have not thought about him. Some days it is all consuming, others it’s a surge that comes in quick and fades out slowly.

We all miss him dearly, but what was unexpected to me was how much I miss his voice. I remember that when he called me on the phone, I would answer and he would greet me with “Hi, this is Horst”… as if I were a work colleague.  I always got a kick out of that, and would actually laugh out loud when he did it. A few months after he passed I had called the home phone at my mom’s house, and his voice was still on the machine. I called back again to listen once more. I had planned on trying to get it recorded onto my cell phone… but did not get around to it before I accidentally erased it. I was helping my mom change out a light switch in the house, which required me to shut off the breaker. The outgoing message was erased from the answering machine. I’m sure we have some videos around that have his voice on them for us to hear again.

Horst watching over me as I played in the waves somewhere in Australia. c 1971 or 72

One thing for certain is that we have plenty of photos of him in our family archive, as well as all of my own photos of him. But, we also miss his creative and witty photography that he loved to share. The grandkids will have many, many photos of him to look at while we tell them all the great stories about him. My daughter, who is now 15, will always know her Papa because she was the only grandkid for over 11 years.

My son will most likely only know him through photos, so I’m extra grateful that there are so many of them. He knows who Papa is when we point out a photo of him.

Over the past several months, I’ve become aware of the different things that remind me of him. These are some of the things that are a constant, and happy reminder of him:

  • Eat crispy frying pan scraps: He was notorious for picking out the charred-up pieces from the pan on the stove. I’ve found myself doing this on many occasions.
  • Bed time back rubs: Every night when Brody goes to bed, I sit next to him and gently rub his back as he drifts off to sleep. This is one of the most vivid memories I have as a young child. I can still feel his course fingers on my back.
  • Fascination with how things work: It must be the engineer in him that got instilled in me. Brody and I can sit for hours and watch “How It’s Made” or “How’d The Do It” on television.
  • Light fixtures: He worked for 45+ years as a lighting design engineer. I am always looking at the lighting fixtures wherever I go.
  • 10k running races: He was a natural runner and loved to do 10K races. I ran a few of these with him when I was younger.
  • Sand dunes: When we lived in Australia, he made my sister and brothers and me custom sleds with formica bottoms. The nearby beach had huge (probably not as big as I thought they were) dunes that we would ride down. We were the envy of all the other kids there.
  • VW beetles: He loved these cars, over the years owned 8 different ones (plus other VW models).
  • Kites: I remember he had this huge blue custom made kite that was about 6 feet across (to the best of my childhood recollection). It was so cool to watch him fly it. My mom gave me a kite that she had gotten for him, and just last week I finally figured out how to assemble and fly it (there were no instructions with it).
  • Horst with a 10′ board in New York. c 1968

    Surfing: He surfed in the cold winters of New York with a thick wetsuit and gloves. And in Australia where he told me he’d once seen a shark while surfing (he confessed that he’d never told my mom about that for fear that she’d never let him go surfing again). I remember him taking me to garage sales for my to buy my first surfboard, and the first time I caught a wave on it in Redondo Beach, CA… I think I was around 11 or 12. He was standing on the shore with my oldest brother, and I could hear him shouting out “Go Neil!!!” as I rode the small wave. Like it was yesterday.

  • The beach: When my siblings and I were kids, it seemed as if we were constantly at the beach.
  • Strange looking clouds: Whenever there are odd clouds in the sky, I wonder how he would try to capture a photo of them. Always with a smile on my face.

Thanks for reading, and remembering our Papa with me.

8 Responses so far.

  1. stephanie s. says:

    This past week has been very hard on me and my family, remembering Papa’s last days. It seems like yesterday you were here with us, but a year has gone by. There has not been one day without a thought of you crossing my mind and your grandson, Jake remembers you so vividly, he tells me short stories of your fun & games together. My thoughts of my childhood are full of great memories and I will treasure them forever. I’m still wishing I could hear your soft spoken voice one more time & give you a great big hug to let you know your the best Papa anyone could ever have !!!!! Where ever I am, I always look up at the blue sky & clouds and my heart is filled with happiness knowing that our Papa is looking down at us & smiling 🙂 Love & miss you dearly Papa….

    Daddy’s little girl,

    Stephanie 🙂

  2. Melanie says:

    Thanks for sharing such great memories of Papa. They make me smile and cry all at the same time. I still miss him very very much.
    Love, Melanie

    • stephanie s. says:

      I love you too Melanie, thank you for being a part of our family, your the best

  3. Suzie Rose says:

    A year already? It’s hard to believe, even for me…a distant friend. You all know that I, and countless other Flickr friends of your papa’s, miss him each and every day, each time we log onto Flickr.
    Magically, he was the first person to comment on each of our daily posts…I don’t know how he did it, but he did.

    For me, Horst is surely always painting with clouds, the evidence of my discovery (and photo) of a girl with flowing hair in the clouds (seen on Father’s Day in 2010) and posted soon thereafter on Flickr.
    Whenever there are unusual clouds in the sky, I know it’s Horst playing with our imaginations as, in life, he motivated us and educated us in the art of sky painting.

    Thank you so much, Neil, for sharing him with us. He will never be forgotten…as each Friday, I will continue to post a flower photo in memory of this great man…

    Sending love to you and your family always,

  4. mimbrava says:

    It must be comforting to you to know how many people on Flickr often mention Horst in their comments. He made a huge impression on so many of us for his imagination, his photographic skill and most of all his kindness.

    You are lucky to have such warm, loving memories of your very special dad, Neil.

    • April Flores says:

      Thank you for sharing your memories of your father. He sounds like he was the best! It makes me focus more on the details of my own dad. I once interviewed my grandmother for a school project and recorded it, I am so grateful to be able to hear her voice on the cassette, it wad before video camera days.

  5. Kiki says:

    This week I said to Hero Husband ‘It must be a year that my Flickr friend Horst died’ – I should like to put a sort of memory pixie on Flickr…. but I didn’t have the time. I am right now mostly off Flickr and yet I’m very much connected to my Flickr buddies… so much that I have far more email correspondance with my fl. friends than official photos and comments going out… Horst has died on the day my mother in law has her birthday (and wedding anniversary). She turned 80 this year and I shall now never forget Horst’s day of having left us.
    I shall still post – later on – a photo in memory of him, he was one of the first and finest of my Flickr friends and I share with a great inner joy and emotions every post of you in his memory.
    Thank you and God bless you all. He is not gone, he’s gone ahead!

  6. gary says:

    I can hardly believe its been a whole year, time has flown by but i miss Horst as much a year later as i did when i found out he passed away. So nice to see his memory lives on as strong a year later.