... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Happy Birthday Trailblazer!

Today, his passport would reveal that this Trailblazer is 88 years old, but his heart and soul would still have the vigour and passion for life of a man half his age. I’m sure of it. 

He’d still be operating under his M.O. of “You got to get up and get on it!” And if it was 8:30 in the morning, if everything and everyone was not in position to roll, he’d shout out: “What the hell is wrong with you? It’s 8:30–the day is half over!”  Which surely would be followed by: “If you don’t do nothin’ only one thing is gonna happen: not a goddamn thing!”

How I miss this man! The man whose accomplishments also included having one of  the first civil rights lawsuit to go to Superior Court in the state of Washington–and win–because he and his fellow soldiers were not allowed to eat at the same restaurants as their white comrades. 

Unfortunately for me, at the time I treaded tumultuous divorce waters in Germany and wasn’t sure if I’d sink or swim, the Trailblazer was no longer with us. Time and time and time again I’d ask myself, “What would Daddy do?” He always, but always had the answer. In fact, my baby sister and co-blogger Dana gave me a pin with his initials, GF,  that I keep next to my laptop on my desk. The visual helps me channel him when I need his help. 

There was only one time in my life that Daddy didn’t know the answer to the question. (He was human after all.) I had just received the devastating news that my son had been born with only half of his heart. I was in Germany, my family in America–a world away. I’ll never forget me screaming into the phone, “Daddy, what should I do?” His answer silenced my screams. He said, “Baby, I’ll be damned if I know what to tell you.” He couldn’t tell me how to navigate that treacherous terrain and despite the fact that I’d been inundated with information from specialists and cardiologists and surgeons–it was AT THAT MOMENT that I knew I was in trouble.

After watching him get arrested for having a loud mouth and standing up for what he believed in, being hassled by authority, having to fight for his rights and facing it all with a certain brave and bold fearlessness, I truly thought that my Trailblazer could make pigs fly. 

And today, back in Seattle for the holidays and walking the streets where I grew up, I reminisce. I look down this block and remember holding 2×4 planks while daddy nailed them into place for a fence; I remember picking up cigarette butts and dog poo from around that yard. I look at the stained-glass window he installed in that house as a matter of his expression; I remember loading the truck at Perkins Glass Company, and picking up drapes from Seattle Curtain; picking up day laborers from Pioneer Square and carrying picket signs with those laborers around local Central Area banks because of their red-lining practices. Cleaning apartments in that building. How I remember!

And now, the city landscape has changed. The homeless crisis here is all too real–it even has it’s own Wikipedia page; people of color are being forced out of this beloved area they’ve called home for years–for generations–because they can no longer afford to live here. I can’t see downtown or the mountains when I walk up Jackson street because there are cranes and raw construction blocking my view. From my lens, my cherished neighbourhood is losing it’s charm; it’s character. Where have all the Craftsman homes and midcentury single-family houses and bungalows gone? 

As a major investor, player and creative force in this area, I keep asking myself, what would the Trailblazer say about this suburban-urban flip? About those displaced?  Somehow, one way or another, I do believe he would have made an impact–even if it would mean helping one person-just one person figure out a way to save his or her home.

And I know FOR SURE he’d say, “There ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.” ©

And before he’d know it, it would again be 8:30 in the morning. “Time to get up and get on it!”

Happy Birthday Trailblazer. Miss you madly!