Today is my dad’s birthday. So I’m dedicating this post to the man, the myth, the legend…Robert Gissendaner. I’m not gonna lie. I was a total daddy’s girl. As the only Gissendaner girl born to my family, I was always a bit spoiled. I’m also the oldest granddaughter on my mom’s side, so needless to say I’m a grandpa’s girl as well. Explains a lot, huh?
My dad didn’t have an easy life. At three, he lost his father to a hunting accident. A couple of years later, he lost his mom to cirrhosis. He was shuffled from relative to relative, along with his two older brothers. So my father grew up never truly knowing a real home or familial unit.
At sixteen, he met my mom at a roller skating rink. Quite the story, I’m told. Mom has never, nor ever will be, good at skating. Apparently she once took out the security guard by trying to make a turn on the rink. Then she ran into a curly-haired, muscular young lad whom she likened to Richard Gere and John Travolta. He skates up, all cool-like, during the couple’s skate and asks my mom to join him. My mom thought he was coming to ask her friend to dance. Instead he chose her.
It was love at first skate…err, sight. One year later, they were married and pregnant with my oldest brother. Then…joy of joys…they has a baby girl three years later. (That would be moi.) Less than two years later came the baby boy.
My father’s family was now complete. We were a gaggle of redheaded children, none taking after our dad with his dark ‘fro. No lie. Dude had the biggest head of curly hair you’ve ever seen. We have pics. I’ve seen the evidence.
In recent years, my dad has battled heart disease, including a heart attack and several bypass surgeries. It turned his dark curls to gray, but hey…he’s not bald! Not bad for a mid-fiftysomething year old, huh?