Thomas L. Cassells, Sr.
October 6, 1917 - March 14, 1972
He was there for my first bath --GAVE me my first home bath. He took me for my first swim in the Detroit River, urging me to “just jump in and move your arms like this,” as he demonstrated the free-style stroke. Years later, he gave me driving lessons alongside that same body of water. My sophomore year, he couldn’t wait until Christmas so he surprised me with a portable typewriter one day in October when Mom was out shopping. He smiled broadly when my first daughter was born and said, “You did good.” When my second daughter came along, he was delighted again.
As a teenager, I was mortified. His jokes were corny. He sang old-fashioned songs off key. The man wandered around the house in boxer shorts, wearing shaving cream on his face, as if waiting for his beard to grow! Getting permission to go out two weekends in a row was out of the question.
When I became an adult and then a parent, I began to understand him. His teachings, strict rules, and often stern demeanor were for our safety. He wanted us to become upstanding, respectful people. He loved us enough to be a parent instead of a friend. And, though he didn’t say the words much, we knew he loved us.
We lost Dad way too soon -- when Tom, Reenié, and I were just beginning to blossom into the young adults he’d primed us to be. But, he is with us every day as the lessons he taught us come to mind or we remember and quote some of his sayings. We often remark that he was a man ahead of his time, and today we know how lucky we were to experience childhood under his roof. Thanks, Dad.
~ xoA ~