Dad Would Be So Proud

Last Update: March 01, 2021

I was thinking of my Dad today as we watched the Perseverance landing on Mars. I signed up last summer when it launched to have my name, my husband's and my Dad's on the craft along with millions of other people.

Dad passed away in 2014 but he always wished he could go to space. He was fascinated with the universe, with space flight. He remembered seeing Sputnik and that spurred a life long dream. He became a pilot. That was as close as he could get. If not for health problems he might have made it further from Earth.

He was a dreamer but also a doer. He was well versed in physics, math and became an aircraft mechanic. He was lead mechanic for the largest airline in Alaska long before I was around. Following medical retirement he resurrected the lodge in an old copper mining town in Alaska. Then moved even further into the bush where I grew up on our homestead in the mountains in the middle of the largest National Park in the U.S.

We had solar power, wind power, a saw mill to cut our own lumber to build. We mined for gold and created huge organic gardens and greenhouses that supplied much of our food.

Though we lived over 300 miles from a city and nearly 100 miles from a paved road, my childhood was not lacking for education or culture. His massive antennae system allowed us to capture radio waves from around the world. I grew up in a cabin in Alaska listening to BBC, NPR and classical music as well as local radio. He had subscriptions to magazines ranging from TIME to Popular Science, Smithsonian and National Geographic.

Mom did most of my homeschooling and helped me order books from the library that would be delivered by mail plane. It was the best day in weeks when a new batch of books came in. We had to travel by snow machine, dog team or airplane to go pick up the mail.

I was exposed to people from around the world who came to stay with us to experience Alaska in exchange for help on the homestead. I remember a Swiss physicist, a French chef and great people from New Zealand, Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic.

I truly believe I was better educated than many kids my age. I had no TV, no internet and no phone until later.

I did home school until high school when we moved to town during the winters.

Dad invented a number of great things like a 12 volt refrigerator that ran off the solar system and a solar powered water pump that supplied our water from the spring. We had a redwood hot tub inside the attached greenhouse that kept the plants warm all winter.

My love of learning was certainly inspired by my parents. Dad was always learning something new. Whether it was astro-psychics, composting, keeping earthworms or learning the stock market in his later years, he never stopped. Mom is an avid reader and carries on the torch of keeping up with politics, investments, news and science. We often discuss what we read, share articles and she still corrects my grammer and spelling!

Dad would have been thrilled to know his name is on the Perseverance on Mars today!

His entrepreneurial spirit allowed him to make a wonderful life in a way no one ever had before. It is because of that life that I think about things the way I do. It allowed me to see the world a little differently than most and see possibilities around every corner.

I know there are paths that don't fit the mold. However, for all his unconventional ways, Dad was actually very old-fashioned. He believed in hard work, being humble, being honest and taking care of your family and anyone in need. He put on nice clothes to go to dinner and stood up if a lady walked in a room (even me). He never wore a hat at the table and believed in good manners. He would never scam or short change anyone.

My parent's mix of wild, going against the grain (to leave their conventional lives behind and live in the wilds of Alaska) and also following with the straight and narrow, resulted in me. I dream of being my own boss, don't take orders or suggestions well from others and don't like being on a team. I WILL be my own boss one day. I have to be an entrepreneur . I simply can't imagine life any other way. I need to be free to live away from a city. I miss the open space.

In the meantime however, I learned from my parents to appreciate and do well in the system we are in. I learned the value of putting money into retirement at a young age. I started investing as a teenager when they would pay me for my labor in the summer and help me invest the money.

I went on to get a job in State Government as a Natural Resource Specialist after working for oil and gas companies. I have worked for my state for 12 years now so I have some money invested that can continue to grow. I completed multiple degrees in school, and got scholarship all the way. I followed the rules while also learning how to be my own boss. That is why I am at WA. I love that I can learn to build a successful business in any niche I want while still earning retirement and getting paid leave.

I will not follow just one path. I will follow a path of many branches. My husband and I also own and manage rental property (another thing I learned from Mom and Dad). We currently own a 4-plex and also manage a 6-plex for Mom. With my husband's VA Loan we were able to purchase this building with zero down. Having State jobs meant we were a good risk to the lenders with stable income and retirement accounts that counted as the reserves. Buying a multiplex with the VA Loan is an option for many coming out of the military but few take advantage of it. Most buy a single family house. Lucky for me my husband is a dreamer too.

There are many opportunities out there (like starting your own website business) but you have to be open-minded to see them and also careful to avoid the scams. I have to admit WA was not the first program I tried. It will be the last however!

Dad would be proud.


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SondraM Premium
What a great tribute to your Dad.

I also learned a lot about you. Wow...

Jessica, I hope that you are doing well. Of all the people here on WA, I frequently find myself thinking about you how you bravely face the adversities and challenges that come your way.

Your parents allowed you to become an amazing woman.

I hope that I will be seeing you around in WA soon.
Thucydides Premium
This is a wonderful post! I can’t think of a better tribute to your Dad. I am so very honored to be his son in law, and your very lucky husband.

I always loved talking about the “big ideas” with Dad. He was a gentleman, and a true Renaissance man. A thinker, but never one to “make thoughts his aim,” he always “met with triumph and disaster, and treat(ed) those two imposters just the same.”

Your Dad was a titan, mentally, physically, and intellectually. In some ways, a bit like our very own Ben Franklin. A man of so many qualities, I can’t begin to list them all; pioneer, engineer, dreamer, philosopher, inventor, adventurer. But inspiration, and father, most importantly of all.

He and your mother made you into the girl of my dreams. There is so much of him in you. You are the strongest, wisest partner a man could ask for. Between my father and yours, if I can be but a fraction of the men they are, I’ll have done better than I ever hoped, or thought possible.

I’ll always be grateful for your Dad, and I know he would have loved making the trip on Perseverance with us both.
Swangirl Premium
Thank you Love! I am so lucky to have you and so glad you knew Dad. You are my two favorite guys. I rely on you and love our adventures together. I can only imagine where we will go.
JeannineC Premium
Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories. My dad, too, was a pilot, even built his own plane. He was an aeronautical engineer by trade, but branched into other aspects of engineering during his career. He even had 19 patents, so he invented things no one else ever thought of, and some even saved lives. All that before he became an ordained minister for the last 25 years of his life.

I treasure all my memories of him just as you do.
Swangirl Premium
It sounds like your Dad was an inspiration to you too Jeannine. Thank you.
drjec Premium
Thank you so much for that wonderful picture of you life growing up. We raised our 3 kids "in the bush" in northern Ontario on a homestead not quite as isolated as you, but about 12 miles off a paved road. I think there is a confidence that develops in a person who lives off the land and thrive. There is also a realization of the way everything relates in life. My boys are much more prone to help others now because they know the value of working together. I enjoyed learning more about you.
Swangirl Premium
I agree. You feel like you can figure out how to take care of yourself in some ways but you can also feel very restricted and confined in a city.

I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything though. I miss it every day. I crave being outside in the trees and listening to the birds and the breeze. We live in the 4-plex now and 2 bedroom apartment living on the 3rd floor is not my ideal! I miss having a real yard and garden. We know it is a smart investment though so we deal with it for now. We spend $20,000 a year on utilities and another $8,000 or $9,000 per year on property taxes...that doesn't even include the mortgage of another $40,000 plus per year! So with the rents from the other 3 units we just break even but that is still better than paying $1,500 per month rent at minimum, plus hundreds in utilities ourselves. We live for free and build equity in the building.

The confidence I gained from my childhood helped me figure out this was possible though I don't know anyone else our age getting into real estate like this.

We plan to buy another building as soon as we can at which point we will start making a profit and someday with enough buildings and my websites I can quit my regular job. We will have to move to the new building (due to lending terms) and then can rent out this unit.

Ironic that living in the woods allows me to figure out how to manage in the city system!

It sounds like you and your family had a great life in Ontario! Your kids were lucky too!

Thanks for your thoughts.
lesabre Premium
Hi Jessica,
What a beautiful post and attribute to your Dad. It did stir up my emotions as my dad was the "Wind Beneath My Wings".

I have made so many crash landings since I lost him. I know he raised a great family along with my mum, I may have strayed a bit.

It is obvious your dad raised a beautiful wonderful daughter in you and I am sure he is smiling down looking at you with pride.

Swangirl Premium
Aww, thank you Michael! You sound like a great son.
lesabre Premium
Thank you Jessica, that means a lot. You are obviously a great daughter.