#6 Dad and Do-nuts

Sunday morning, May 1970, Apollo 12 had flown to the moon and returned to earth 6 months earlier.

Dad bent down to tighten the strap on my helmet. Climbing on the motorcycle, he flipped the choke and turned the key. Our two-wheeled rocket was lit. My arms tight around his waist, he patted them, flipped the kickstand up, and roared down the driveway, breaking the silence of the dawn towards the promise of freshly-fried Shipley Do-nuts.

Texas 3, the highway to League City was a quiet connector in those days. We rumbled past the occasional oil tanker truck as the power plant lights twinkled in the distance. The doorbell, hanging on a string jingled, announced the arrival of the morning’s first customers. The white-aproned donut fryer nodded his head and transferred our hot sugary reward straight into the box. Our pastries securely bungee-corded between us, my father picked up speed and we headed home.

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Apollo 12 Astronaut, Alan Bean at home with 6 year old daughter, Amy.

Last year we revived this father-daughter tradition, substituting my father’s white SUV for the maroon motorbike, and air conditioning for the wind in our faces. Gone was the Sunday sunrise where we satisfied our weekly need for speed.  The morning had matured into relaxed moments of Dad and daughter discussing life, love, family, friends, art, and astronaut adventures.

We shared our last father-daughter breakfast together on Sunday, May 6, 2018. The following Thursday, Dad suffered a powerful stroke. He never regained consciousness and died 16 days later. I lost my sage, my loudest cheerleader, the one who confidently told me, “Amy, you will find a way”.  

Our Shipley Do-nut days are a memory now. That time, those conversations, like the cinnamon buns we relished, were sweet cakes of love filled with fatherly wisdom. And although I will no longer hear my father’s voice, forever I carry his inspirational song in my heart.

My father achieved his dreams. At 86 years old Alan Bean was at peace with a life well-lived.

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Artist, Astronaut and Father Alan Bean in his Houston studio

 

23 Comments

  1. Much love to you, Amy. I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. What a sweet post and sweet picture of you two. ❤️

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  2. Amy, that’s beautiful. I never got to meet your dad, but it sounds like he was not only an accomplished man, but a loving, wonderful father. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  3. Your father touched so many lives, including mine and my sons. I can’t imagine how much you are missing him. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  4. That is such a beautiful tribute to your father. I met him several times and shared a few long phone calls with him. He was one of a kind and such an amazing human being… I’m going to miss him but will always carry very special memories of him. Thank you for sharing your story…

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  5. Thanks for that personal side of your father. As a child growing up during Apollo, all the astronauts seemed larger than life. My dad taught me despite all the heroics they were still regular people. I always thought your dad was special. He never showed that cocky test pilot attitude or the superior attitude of a brilliant mind. He always seemed so down to Earth and warm and friendly. I was so hoping to meet him this year and will miss him greatly. I definitely will miss his art, that will never be replaced.

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  6. Amy, I’m so sad for your loss but happy that you were able to have those wonderful memories and traditions with him again. Thank you for sharing that touching story of the 2 of you. Thinking of you.
    Love, Lisa

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  7. I met your dad at an astronaut autograph show at the Kennedy Space Center. He sign his Space art book for me, put his arm around my shoulder and smiled for a picture with me. I will miss your dad too, Amy.

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  8. Amy, I join all those posting to express my sincere sorrow and condolences to you and your family as you grieve the loss of your Dad. I had the honor of meeting him once in Washington, DC. He was funny, incredibly humble, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I just lost my Mom last month, so I know the sense of loss and emptiness you feel. Please know that there are untold numbers of us who are fans of your Dad and his work. Thank you for sharing this remembrance of him with us.

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  9. Memories will last forever and ever…..your father will now be between the stars you watch at night. Sorry for your loss

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  10. Amy, your father touched the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe; myself included. It was an honour and a privilege to have met him: just one of his many fans here in the UK.

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  11. Such a sweet tribute. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with so many of us that admired him. His jovial nature, contagious smile, and willingness to share his astronaut adventures, made him my favorite astronaut. Sending sincere condolences for your loss.

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  12. Amy , your Dad was a hero to so many of us growing up, including me. We lived near JSC Houston, Clear Lake and remember seeing your Dad around the area. My dad and I loved Shipley Donuts too !! Please know the world will miss your dad so much and he will never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing him with us

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  13. Dear Amy, Your blog posts are simply beautiful. Thank you for carrying on your dad’s legacy so well. May God hold you tightly in His arms and fill your heart with His peace. Blessings, Heidi

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  14. Dear Amy, Your father lived his life well; always with intention and focus. His many lessons will continue to guide you and those of us so rewarded by his friendship. Wheeler Historical Museum is honored to continue the story. His wisdom and light will direct us in all we do as we honor him and the first explorers that reached for the stars. The torch is passed and I know that you will have great influence on the lives of others as you share your unique journey.
    Oh, yes! “Amy, you will find a way”.

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  15. Amy, thank you for sharing these thoughts about your amazing dad. What a blessing you were to him in so many different ways. May you and your family find much comfort in the days ahead through the love of others and the precious memories of the moments you enjoyed together.

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  16. I’m so sorry for our loss of this great man- sending you are virtual hug.
    The world was better with him
    In it.

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