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For My Dad

David William Chapman Gray was Born on the 4th of November 1945.
Dad was a bright child who excelled academically and in sports. He could have played football or cricket for GB, but fate made it not to be. Academics then became his passion. My family know well his boast that he won a bet reciting Julius Ceaser backwards. Dad was also a controversial boy who liked to write with green ink despite his teachers telling him not to. My father did as he liked. Rocking the boat and testing authority.

Dad met my mother Mavis at a football dance where he played wingman to his best friend, literally keeping my mum busy so his friend could romance hers.
After three months of dating he proposed and Mum said No, he kept asking her and told her he wouldn’t let her go to sleep until she said yes, she eventually crumbled under the pressure. My Father was a very determined man, something I have a little of.

My parents were married on Oct 1969? and they celebrated with sparkling wine.
One Christmas my parents had invited my aunt and uncle over for lunch and my mum was upset as she hadn’t taken the chicken out of the freezer the night before and it was frozen solid, my father then said something that upset my mum so she threw that chicken at him, she was further incensed that he caught the chicken and proceeded to run it under the tap thereby defrosting it. I’ll remind you, A good sportsman and an academic.

Matthew arrived Dec 21 1972…very late, my mother was about 43 weeks,  my father adored him the feeling was mutual, Matthew hated my dad going to work, so much so he would cry and beg him not to leave. My father once had to save him from a deep pond he’d stumbled into. He went down, then bobbed up, went down then bobbed up, went down and on the third time my Dad caught hold of him, so the story goes.

Timothy arrived August 29th 1976…very soon, it was touch and go but My Dad stayed by his side to watch him and look after him, to ensure everything be done to keep him alive. He did live, everyone thought he was gorgeous, with his golden brown hair and cheeky grin he became our dependable hero.

I arrived May 17th 1980, … All the arrival cards I’ve read. seem to suggest I was long awaited. What I do know is once I was born my mum said to my dad “thank you”. After two boys they were keen for a girl.  I was later told by my father that I was conceived in a shower, in pontins, standing up. a fact of which he was very proud. I can only assume that I get my inappropriateness  from my father. Broke he bought a red dress for me.

My Dad had really big hands, the kind of hands that as a small child I felt safe holding. I don’t remember my Dad being around much in the mornings as he went off to work in London quite early. But he was often home to give us baths and read us stories, case in point my father taught me to read.
Dad used to treat us by making banana splits sometimes, they were his specialty, he was always disappointed if we ate the ice cream and left the banana, they grow on trees but money doesn’t apparently . I remember though that his favourite ice cream was tuti fruiti and we weren’t aloud any of it. Don’t misunderstand me, My Dad was a very generous man, just not with his food.
My Dad was a kind man, a funny man and a warm and loving man to his family. He loved Elvis, Barbara Striesand and Neil Diamond. He was a Man City supporter. He liked sugared almonds, marzipan and liquorice allsorts.
He liked winning at trivial pursuits, he loved winning.
And loved reading.
Dad told me that he made mistakes but he always tried his best, which is all that anyone can do.

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