In memory of Francis Farmer, my dad...
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dad was born in my grandparents house on the land they purchased in
Pittsfield, NH before he was born.
When my father married, he purchased a section of this land from my grandfather, built a home on it and lived there until he died.
Fifty nine years is a long time for anyone to live in the same
place, but that was my father; a stay-put kind of guy. He
loved the simple life of enjoying his home and family.
He said, "That's for the tax man to see when he drives by to assess the property value." We knew we weren't rich growing up, but my father's hard work made us feel like we had everything we wanted..
Dad loved lilacs and planted a bush at every fence post and every corner of the house so we could smell the wonderful scent of lilacs all throughout the house, signifying the start of spring. His last wish was to have his ashes scattered on these bushes.
We lived on a dirt road, far away from town with lots of land to roam and play.
The pond in back of our house, in the picture above, was dug by my father and brothers to create a place to boat in the summer and ice skate in the winter.
The picture of a sand pile with the birch trees growing out of it is the sand pile my brother's and I played in when we were kids. My father had a truckload of sand dumped under those birch trees so we would have a place to play with our trucks in the shade.
Dad most prided himself on being self sufficient. The best example of this was the generator he created out of an old V. W. engine that ran on diesel fuel. You see, he discovered it was cheaper to run his generator on diesel fuel to power his house than powering the house with public utilities. The diesel fuel he obtained by trading lumber he cut. He kept only his refrigerator on public utilities, often showing friends and neighbors his $4 monthly electricity bill.
"That $4 is from having to rent that damn meter on the pole over there", he would say.
My father was best known for working hard, and working all the time.
Family was important to him.
My father passed on many things to me; I got his ingenuity, his kindness, and his love of science and invention.
My brothers followed in his foot steps. My brother Ken named my father as his hero in his High School Year book, signifying the special bond they always had. Both Ken and Dale worked with my father in countless jobs he took on. He loved to teach what he knew and often spent hours fixing my car as I watched and learned. He showed me how to change the oil, the tires, the spark plugs, the condenser, the air filter and the antifreeze. He could fix anything.
My dad always told me to work hard, so when I was 15 years old, I got a job at McDonald's, an hour drive round-trip. My father drove me to work and picked me up every weekend in his lime green 1970 Ford Maverick, (standard on the column).
When I turned 16, my father gave me this car to drive myself to work because he was so proud of me showing the initiative to go out and find work; not to mention he was tired of the commute. I was the only kid in school with a green 1970 Ford Maverick. I was proud to have it because it was a gift from my father for showing initiative, hard work and perseverance, all things he prided himself on the most.
After divorcing my mom in the 70's, my dad just worked harder. My parents divorce was amicable and we visited my father on the weekend and stayed with our mom during the week. The weekends at my father's house became a bachelor pad after that. I spent most of my time looking after my brothers and my father, cooking meals and cleaning up. I hated doing dishes, but my father had values that supported outdoor work. I liked to stay inside and study or watch TV. My brothers loved to be outside, playing in the sand pile with their trucks or hunting in the woods. My father would ask me to do the dishes because I was in the house rather than ask one of my brothers to come inside to do them. I sure did learn how to cook amazing meals and keep a clean house in that time.
After the divorce from my mother, my father dated off an on through the years; that is until he found the love of his life, Ann Marie Ames.
Ann brought new life into my father's world. He laughed, played and loved.
My father was always known for having family gatherings at his house.
He loved Christmas and Birthday celebrations.
Ann loved to decorate for Christmas and my father loved how happy she would get when stringing the lights or trimming the tree. He loved to support her love of all things childlike. Ann didn't have a fun-loving childhood and my father wanted to see to it that she had a fun-loving adulthood with him. I loved him for that. I was always so proud of him for the kind of love and compassion he showed.
Though my father was never one to travel, I did manage to get him off that hill a few times. I've been lucky enough to have traveled all over the world in my life and each trip I wished my father could see and experience all that I was able to, but that wasn't who my dad was. He had no interest in seeing the world, but was proud to have a son who did. Regardless, he agreed to travel to see where I was living, whether it was my dorm room at UNH, my apartment in Boston, or my home in San Francisco.
I moved to Boston in 1993 and planned a visit for my father, Ann, my aunt Pat, my uncle Bob and my cousin Sue. We enjoyed a picnic on the banks of the Charles River in Boston. He hated the traffic and the buzz of the 'big city', but we found a beautiful setting in the middle of all that for him to relax under a tree by the water, having a picnic with his family. The highlight of that trip was going to the top of the John Hancock building and seeing the "Ride of Paul Revere" model, which showed a model of Boston at the time of the ride, and then superimposed the Boston of today, showing that most of Boston was built on landfill. He was fascinated by the show and talked about it for the rest of the day.
In 1998, I married the love of my life, Andy Cramer and invited my father and Ann out to San Francisco for the wedding. My father had never been on an airplane before, never been past Boston, never been to a gay wedding. Despite his fear of flying, fear of leaving home, and his fear of the unknown, he boarded a plane and flew out San Francisco to be with us.
I had always thought my father wouldn't understand if I told him that I was gay, but when the day came for me to tell him, he taught me something about life. When I told him, I half expected him to kick me out of the house, but he surprised me. He looked at me with a serious but kind and gentle face and asked, "How long have you known?" That question was the start of a new relationship for me and my father. The kind of compassion that he showed me that day started us both talking like we had never done before. I asked him why someone like him, who had never heard anything positive about homosexuality, would have responded to finding out his son was gay with such understanding and compassion. He told me a story about his mother. He said that his mother wanted to marry someone she loved very much and her father didn't let her, so she married my grandfather instead. My father told of a very unhappy home because my grandmother didn't want to be in the life she was in. As a child my father made an agreement with himself, that if and when he had kids, he would support whoever they wanted to be with. So my father was at that point when he listened to me tell him that I was gay. Though he didn't understand, his first impulse was to support.
This picture taken in San Francisco at my wedding shows my father with Andy's mother. The smile on his face and the love he showed everyone at that event tells me how much he loved me and wanted to support the people I choose to love. He was able to write a wrong he lived with in his own family with his vow to support any choice his children had for a spouse. He loved Andy very much and knew I was safe with him. He knew he never had to worry about me because I had found true love and happiness, even if it was so far away; he wanted to support it and did.
Thank you for giving me life and teaching me so much Dad.
I love you and will always miss you dearly.
((If anyone has pictures of my father and wishes to add them to this site, please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pictures to Remeber
Dad's 50th Birthday Party
Dad's true love, Ann
Dad with his siblings, Bill, Linda & Pat
Dad looked just like Beaver Cleaver
Dad and the car we shared.
Christmas time with family
Dad with family
Dad's House, My Childhood Home
Dad and my mother,
Dad and his horse
My Brother Dale playing video games at the computer desk my father helped me build
Ken & Sheila's Wedding
Ann and my dad playing in the pool
Dad arrives in San Francisco with the family 1998
My Dad & Andy's mom, proud parents. 1998
My Dad, my brother Dale, me & Andy
Dad with his sons.
Sometime around 1976
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