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Michael F Power II

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Some Memories of My Father - Written by Dennis P Power

Michael F Power II – Loving father, firefighter & friend to all. I am not sure I ever remember him saying an unkind word to anyone, other than his kids when he had had a “little too much spirits”. He was caring, stern and fair but often distant to his sons. He loved his daughter without question. He left the majority of the responsibilities of child-rearing to his spouse. He was always proud of his kids, if, a bit intimidated by them. Their inherited intelligence, honed by Mabel’s rigid and persistent insistence for higher education, somehow appeared to frighten him. Mike was a firefighter and, like many firefighters, supplemented his income by being a paper-hanger. Mike was one of those rare individuals that earned credits to that fine occupation, long before the events of 911. “Running into burning buildings when others were running out”. He served on Engines 36, 50 and Ladder 9 – all within Charlestown. What time he spent elsewhere is lost to me. I always knew what firehouse my father was at. It was the local daycare center for most kids in the neighborhood. Daycare was NOT an option in those days. My working mother was adamantly opposed to such a “foolish idea, leaving your kids with others.” Mike appeared to love the life of a firefighter, but in the end, it was probably his downfall. Firehouse living with the associated assets & liabilities of a firefighter, contributed to some “excess of spirits”, that he struggled with throughout his life. The severe injuries to his back, in spite of multiple surgeries, caused him significant pain for many years. The loss of comrades, failed rescues and tragic events, never revealed to his kids, wore heavy on his tender heart and generous soul through the years. One day, I remember clearly, but never have understood, my mother spoke with disdain contempt of what life as a firefighter had done to my father. None of her kids would ever be firefighters. In spite of my mother’s views, my memories of my father and the firehouse life, playing on the trucks, the cooking, sliding the pole, and riding the fire trucks have always generated sentimental tears. Except, when the fire alarm tolled, then, without hesitation, any firefighter’s kids were lined up against the wall as the fire trucks pulled out and their fathers went “to answer the call” of some tragic event. The fire alarm screamed for, demanded and received attention from everyone present. I learned early to respect its awful wail and be standing where my father expected me to be as he climbed aboard his truck. No truck ever moved if a son or daughter was unaccounted for. And heaven forbid you be responsible for a trucks not rolling. We waited for their return - shock & awe. My father was always good to me, but unfortunately, had the annoying habit of showing up for my public events, swimming meets, intoxicated, more often than I would like. This behavior made me distance myself further from him than I should have. I did not come to learn the dangers of drink until later in life. As he got older, and the wages of time, profession, and the bottle took a toll on him, Mike suffered multiple heart attacks and ailments associated with “a shot & a beer”. Being left-handed, always a big strong man, he survived them all remarkably well. As one heart attack occurred, in my presence, I remember him very directly telling me to “call Engine 36 and tell them firefighter down”. He then sat down to have a heart attack. Before I was able to get back to him, I could hear the fire engines wailing scream from two miles away. As we screamed to the hospital, weaving through Boston’s rush hour traffic, barely, if ever slowing down, I remember wondering if we would survive the frighteningly wild trip. Alas, we did. That ride has often occurred to me, at which time, I remember “responding to call w/him”. He survived. A few years later, I spent the evening with him, clear-eyed, sober and happy, making home-made ice cream. The following day, having worked in his garden, he lay down on the couch, his tattered, stained and well used prayer book in hand to “take 40 winks” as he so often did, where my sister discovered him. Upon my arrival, I dutifully kissed him on the forehead, as I had my entire life. Mike Power had answered his “final call”.


Owner/Source  Dennis P Power 
Linked to  Michael Francis Power 

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