Dad’s Memorial Service was held on June 29, 2018, at The Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. It was a beautiful, honorable remembrance of a beloved husband, father, and friend. Several astronauts, Dad’s best friends, and his wife, Leslie spoke at the service. My remembrance touched on Dad’s role as a loving father.
Accomplished Aviator, Acclaimed Astronaut, American Artist- Alan Bean was a man of many parts. He led a life of great purpose and distinguished achievements.
Today as Alan Bean’s daughter, it is my honor to tell you about another role he played, father.
When I was a little girl my dad built a backyard playhouse. He poured the foundation, sawed the wood, and drove each nail into its frame. He added a front porch, finished it with 3 small windows, and wood siding that he painted a light green.
But the true gift of that little cabin my father so lovingly created was not in the hours it served in a daughter’s world of make-believe, but the cabin’s part in the bedtime, fairytale stories my father imagined.
Sitting on my father’s lap, the silhouette of my playhouse through the backyard window, Dad told stories of the little GhostGirl who lived there. Her nights were filled with fun and adventure. While I slept she went night-fishing or played with the cats, raccoons, and owls who roamed the neighborhood. One time the little GhostGirl grew weary of the darkness, and she flew to the sun because a GhostGirl cannot burn.
My father’s magical stories always ended the same. From the shadow of the little cabin, the GhostGirl would gaze into our window and see me on my father’s knee. And the GhostGirl would long to be me with a father who loved her and believed she was the most special person in the world.
That playhouse has been torn down now. The memories of the days playing in it have blurred, but the tales of the GhostGirl in the little cabin, the love my father conveyed to me will never die.
Maybe those childhood fairy tales were the beginning of my father’s legacy as a storyteller. I grew up and left home. Dad began to tell and paint the legendary stories of Apollo and the brave men who flew it.
My father had a journal. Over the last year, he shared it with me. Amongst other things, he wrote his thoughts about happiness and love, achieving dreams, overcoming fear, and making each day count.
In closing, I want to share one of Alan Bean’s journal pages with you. He titled it “Rules for Life”
- I will be passionate about the things, people, and activities I love, partaking of them as a feast and appreciating their small pleasures.
- I will have the courage to be me, not afraid of others, or forget who I am in the business of living.
- I will keep a child’s heart. Be unafraid to lead a happy life.
- Many things can be done in a day if I don’t make that day tomorrow.
- The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
- Picasso said, “I leave my body at the studio door. Only my soul and spirit enter the room.”
- And finally, I cannot move the hearts of others, unless I can move my own heart.
Thank you Dad for moving my heart. I love you.