The Summer of my Dad....The Summer of My Life

Real Estate Broker/Owner with RED Properties NC #129285

Well, I have never done the Song Contest before and thought I would give it a shot since there is one summer in my life that will be the most memorable EVER. 

It was 1984 and I had just been accepted to Penn State - at the very young age of 16.  I had lived overseas for many years in Oman, Seychelles and Germany.  At this point I was back in the states and my adoptive dad was still living overseas.  He and my adoptive mother did not get along AT ALL!  Obviously, I had a passport and I was stuck in a true bo-hunk, no red-light town in Pennsylvania listening to Amish buggies track up and down the street all night long waiting for my freshman year at Penn State to start.  I missed my father tremendously and took every opportunity to call him and write him. 

He decided that for my last fling he would send me a ticket to meet him.  Could it be called kidnapping?  Possibly, as that what my adoptive mother tried to prosecute him for.  Was it?  No - it is the summer though that I will never forget.  It started with a simple ticket to California - LAX.  I was by myself and remember flying into the airport with instructions to meet a Pan Am agent in the airport where they would take me to the next gate.  I wasn't told where I was going.  When I got to the gate I knew.  Oahu, Hawaii.  I met my dad in Hawaii where we spent a few days and then always stayed one step ahead of my mother tripping the globe.  That year I saw the Great Wall, Tokyo, The Taj Mahal, The Pyramids, The Berlin Wall, was on the Autobahn, Big Ben, Notre Dame, watched a model shoot on the Seine River, visited The Opera House in Sydney and so much more. 

I can say that I visited Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Denmark, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Egypt, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Phillippines, Syria, Saudi Arabia and I am sure there are others.  I bring out my passport from time to time to relive that trip and there are songs that will ALWAYS remind me of that summer.

I remember that everywhere we went in Europe we heard U2 - it had just released in the UK the year before and had barely made it to the states yet.  Their new album, The Unforgettable Fire, was leaking out and I heard, to this day, the most haunting song of my life that will always remind me of my dad.   


The following year I heard a song that will stay with for the rest of my life.  I remember seeing the video nd screaming- I was There and I was There and I was There, too!  I tell my husband when I die I want this song and only this song played at my funeral. 


You may wonder how did the world-wide trip end?  HAHA  With my mother finding us and knocking on the hotel room door in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  There was a huge scene as one would suspect but it all ended peacefully.  My dad went back to the Seychelles and me to my dorm room at the Altoona campus of Penn State. 

I never graduated Penn State.  Instead I left after two years in 1986.  I took a summer job in Hershey PA at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in J.P Mallards which was a lounge.  I showed up for work one night before the lounge opened and was helping the manager get "set-up".  The lounge wasn't open yet and no one was allowed in.  I was behind the bar and I kept hearing this whisper trying to get my attention.  "Hey, psst, hey, lady - can I get a drink?"  I turned around and saw my dad and went hysterical.  Needless to say, I got the night off and he took me to dinner.  Before he left he slipped me a ticket.  It was blank and he said to tell him when and where and that we would meet.  He left a few days later.  Just a few short months after that my dad passed away.  He had told me that he was tired.  What he didn't tell me (or anyone for that matter) was that he had cancer.  He had it since our world-wide trip and it was spreading rapidly.  He made it back to the states and I was able to say goodbye.  He laughed as he held my hand and I will never forget, "We had fun, didn't we Pixie?"

I never did get to use that ticket and I still have it tucked away with my old, tattered passport.

So, while you make think this story sad - DON'T!  It was the most memorable, fun and spontaneous adventure of my life.  I will never forget him and I swear he still comes to see me when times are tough.  He always was the one that told me to never give up, believe in myself and to NEVER let anyone tell me I couldn't do something. 

I love you dad and always will!



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 RED Properties RaleighRed
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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Congratulations Leesa, You have been featured in Diary of a Realtor Group.

Jul 26, 2008 08:21 AM #22
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Wow!  What a touching story...  You've seen alot in your young life!  Thanks for sharing...  :)

Jul 26, 2008 08:59 AM #23
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Wow blow me away...........What an incredible experience.........stuff movies are made of...........and the memories are and will be are forever blessed.......goosebumps! :-)

Jul 26, 2008 05:44 PM #24
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Leesa, What an amazing experience!  My dad took me to an amusement park once a year and I thought that was beyond cool.  Geez, to have your dad want to spend his remaining days traveling the globe with you, is just amazing.  My heart went out to your mom, though.  She certainly loves you as well, but the function of a father is to widen the world for us, and he certainly did that.  Moms are naturally more protective.  I'm glad she recovered from the experience and that you have such a precious memory of both the world and the love of your dad.

Jul 26, 2008 05:44 PM #25
Harold Watts
Teles Properties - Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs Real Estate Blog


What an incredible experience you had!!!  Being able to see the world, all the while, your dad wanted to spend every moment that he had left to be with you.  This was not a sad story for me, but one of inspiration.  Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with all of us.

Jul 27, 2008 03:30 AM #26
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

Thanks to all of you that have commented!  It actually took alot for me to post this.  My husband is (was) really the only one that knew about how I felt -  a little catharsis of sorts!

Jul 27, 2008 09:36 AM #27
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

I'm glad you did post this. Mel sent me here a long time ago but I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to say. I've been speechless for days and very much in awe of your Dad and of you. Your sharing this has given me a new perspective on what I would like to do with my kids and I don't want to wait for them to be older (a former fav excuse), now I want to do things the moment I think of doing it. I kept Noah out of school today and we played video-game-hookie together. We picked up Stephen from Early Intervention, met his Special Instructor at her prior session and all had a huge feast together in a wonderful Italian restaurant. Noah kept asking for McDonald's, which really cracked me up, but Stephen's eyes were way too big for his stomach. The minions had fun today and so did I. Watching them fight over drinks, wear and enjoy their food was priceless.   

Aug 01, 2008 09:49 AM #28
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Leesa - This was a wonderful entry and a wonderful story to share here with your friends.  What an incredible trip!  I felt a tinge of sadness, too, but your dad left you with some amazing memories.

Aug 06, 2008 05:03 AM #29
Mattie Lewis
Student at UofH Go Coogs! - Austin, TX

This is so cool. I can't wait until next month!

Aug 07, 2008 02:09 PM #30
Mary Anne S. Daly
Stearns NMLS #232164 CA BRE #01380812 - Mill Valley, CA
Queen of the Loan & Radio Broadcaster


Thanks for your post.  I too loved my dad dearly and lost him to cancer.  I got to take care of him in the last 5 weeks of his life, what a gift. 

There is nothing greater than love and your story is so touching because of the loving bond you had.

Thanks again for sharing.

Aug 07, 2008 04:59 PM #31
Pam Pugmire
Silvercreek Realty Group - Meridian, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate

Leesa~Congratulations on your Big Win!  This was a inspiring post! 

Aug 07, 2008 05:38 PM #32
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

Oh, my gosh - How Cool!  Thanks guys so much - I sincerely appreciate it!  Funny, writing this post did alot for me and really helped me "get back" to where I needed to be.  Sometimes we forget what is most important - make the most of everyday and every moment!

Aug 07, 2008 11:03 PM #33
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

Wow, what an amazing life you have led.  While there are tears in my eyes, I understand what an incredible adventure you shared with your dad and what great memories you have to hold on to the rest of your life.

Aug 07, 2008 11:49 PM #34
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale
Leesa - Congratulations on your win, you definately deserved it. What a "Bucket List" and I'm glad you got to share it with your dad.
Aug 08, 2008 12:01 AM #35
Kara Casamassina
International Property Management Group, LLC - Aiken, SC
Boomers and beyond

hey Leesa - congrats on the win.  What a summer!

Aug 08, 2008 01:40 AM #36
Tom Plant - Murrieta, CA

Leesa - What a wonderful introuction to you! My uncle lived on Praslin in the Seychelles and his widow runs a hotel in their old home. Excellent post - congratulations!


Aug 08, 2008 05:38 AM #37
asdf zcxv
Keller Williams Realty - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Area Real Estate

Leesa,  Wow, I think I've gotten to know you a bit better after this post.  I love adventure and you certainly had one of a lifetime.  I am still so sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful gift your father left you: memories!

Congrats on winning the contest.

Aug 09, 2008 01:07 AM #38
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Just an extraordinary story, Leesa. Congratulations on a well earned winning placement in the contest. More importantly, thank you ever so much for sharing your tale. Both heartbreaking and inspiring at once. As most good stories generally are. Thank you, Leesa.

Aug 09, 2008 02:07 AM #39
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging


Congratulations on winning the "Sounds Of Summer" contest!  Your story is very touching and so special.  I love a great adventure story, sounds like this was the best summer of your life! Thank you for sharing such an important memory from your past! 

Aug 12, 2008 06:25 AM #40
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate


What a beautiful story. I'm sure those songs to bring back the memories. Congrats. Connie

Aug 13, 2008 02:59 AM #41
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