To be sold eventually to strangers, 2


My dad was a civil engineer. He started his career in San Angelo, Texas, working for the highway department. He says he thought he’d spend his career there, until his boss told him it was “too bad” that his degree was from the “wrong” school. It seems that back the the big guys at the highway department went to Texas A&M and he’d gotten his degree from Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University).

He stuck around long enough, though, to meet my mom in Sonora, Texas. According to an entry in their wedding album, he proposed to her in the car, while they were parked along the Ozona Highway. Sounds about right, I guess, for an engineer to take his beloved out to look at a road before he popped the question.

He left the highway department, and went to work for Phillis Petroleum, in Borger, Texas, and then moved to Lubbock in 1956 and went to work at Parkhill, Smith, and Cooper, where he worked until he retired. He did well there, working on a variety of big projects across the country. His particular area of expertise was water- and sewage-treatment facilities. I can remember on many (most, actually) family vacations we’d stop along the way to look at sewage plants. Nothing says “vacation” like the smell of effluent, that’s for sure!

After he retired from working, he mostly retired from wearing neckties. He’d wear one if he had to, but would complain about it. But he kept some, neatly hanging on their rack, just inside the left-hand side of the closet.

We are cleaning out the house now, and I guess someone will be happy to take over the neckties.

Lubbock, Texas
photographed 8.13.2013

Posted on August 27, 2013, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Touching sentiments. Thanks.


  2. Precious. One of the things we have yet to clean out is my Pippa’s collection of bow-ties, hung neatly in rows in his closet. Each grandchild who was pallbearer at his funeral wore one in honor of him. Funny how ties spark so many memories in us! Thank you for sharing this.


  3. This is really a loving memory you shared. I can’t think of any other word.


  4. I do hope you continue on with this series, Melinda. I think it’s a wonderful project.


    • Thank you very much, Ashley; my intention is to continue the project. I’d actually already started on a similar memoir/photography project but it transformed itself into this one, which is a better concept than what I’d started with. I hope I can do the subject justice…


  5. One of the hardest tasks of all is to dispose of a parent’s possessions. Every item has a history, its own associations and memories. A very poignant photo, Melinda


    • Thank you so much, Andy. I’m pretty sure this entire process is turning into a large project of essays and photos. I guess sometimes the best (or, only) way to deal with these sorts of emotional events is to try to turn them into Art.


  6. ” I can remember on many (most, actually) family vacations we’d stop along the way to look at sewage plants. Nothing says “vacation” like the smell of effluent, that’s for sure!”

    Now that’s a unique arrangement of words, just like the unique arrangement of neckties.


  7. Great post Melinda. I very much admire how you are taking this subject head on, I am not sure I could do the same, though have not been tested yet. It is a very good photo too, both technically, but also in the way it says so much about your dad and one part of his life.


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