Nate was my second dad. About two years after my father, Eddie Green died, my mother met Nate. She knew the Beasley family already through other family members namely Odessa, Nate’s mom (Nana) and Dorothy, Nate’s sister (Aunt Dot).
I remember clearly the first time I saw Nate. He was standing on our porch on 2nd avenue in his Navy whites knocking on the door. Later, after we moved from 2nd Avenue in Los Angeles to 66th Street Nate was living with us. Mom told me to call Nate, Uncle Nate. Hmmm. Then she wanted me to call him Daddy. Well, even though I was a child I knew he was not my Daddy, so I chose to call him Dad. And he was my Dad until he passed away.
In this picture he looks like a gangster to me. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth, clean and smooth. Truth be told, when he got angry he would grit his teeth and talk like James Cagney. Then he started smoking cigars.
Still today I associate cigars with Dad. Cigars and a scratchy beard. Overtime his hair got thinner, his cigars got more raggedy because he chewed rather than smoked them and it seems to me that he never shaved. So when you had to give Dad a hug you got to smell his cigar and get your face all scratched up from his beard. Ewww!
Dad was a painter, he painted houses. So he also always smelled of paint. Or had paint on his hands and on his clothes and on his paint cap.
Dad was funny. His sister, Aunt Dot, thought he was the funniest man ever. I heard what I thought was the dirtiest joke from Dad, when I was twelve years old. Actually it only had one “bad” word. I had my ear to the door and was listening at one of their parties:
“A man fell off of a cliff but managed to catch hold of a branch. Hanging there he began to scream for help. Help!!! Help!!!!!!!!!!. A voice from out of the sky said “I will help you. Will you do anything I say?” I’ll do anything, anything! Just tell me what to do.””Okay. Let go of the branch.” And the man said…..”Shiiiit!!”.
Through Nate I gained a whole new family. And new father figures. Uncle Jim, his brother. Uncle Harry, his sister’s husband. Uncle Jim was a very kind man. Uncle Harry was a hard working guy.
Put these guys and the rest of the family members together on a Saturday night and watch out. You never knew what might happen.
On Father’s Day now when I look back I don’t see us giving Dad ties or tools or fixing him dinner (had to do that anyways). There was no big shaggy dog sitting by Dad’s chair. Our home life was a bit more chaotic.
But through Nate I gained a whole new family, a sister and three brothers and a family that stretches from L. A. to Philadelphia and points in between. I love my family.
Nate, Uncle Jim and Uncle Harry have passed on, but they are certainly not forgotten. Happy Father’s Day you guys.
Thanx, for stopping by.