Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Norman Ross, an appreciation


Since father’s day was last week, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our frequent commenters; a loyal and unwavering supporter of the blog and our real life endeavors, our dad, Norman Ross Powers.

Clockwise: our grandma Freda, grandpa Terry, uncle Steve and dad N.R.P.

Ross, as he’s preferred to be known for many years now, happens to be one of my favorite people, ever. I feel pretty lucky to have a father I admire and respect as well as love.

Introspective and thoughtful, he has a subtle, dry sense of humor and is astoundingly compassionate. I adore that upon seeing a friend, he will (seemingly effortlessly) remember exactly what they last spoke of, asking a pertinent question or two or three….a skill that completely escapes me, having a mind that more closely resembles that of the goldfish played by Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo.

High school

One of my earliest memories is of the bike he rebuilt (it must have taken hours of secret work) as a surprise for me. Painted a searing yellow, he had covered the elongated seat in a metallic silver vinyl, the whole affair just screaming BANANA bike.

Me, Rucha & dad (love the chops!)

When our mother went back to school for nursing, dad was in charge in the evenings. That meant fewer rules and more shenanigans. My favorite game was one in which he disappeared behind our silver grey velvet couch with the oiled paper umbrella my mom had picked up in China town, transforming it into the spiky spine of a roaring stegosaurus, causing us to dissolve into fits of fearful and joyous giggling.

Whale bread! A tradition in our house: homemade challah in the shape of an animal or mythological creature.

He loved a good school project or a halloween costume; we used to joke that he got more excited about them than we did, making them ever more elaborate and creative. I wish I still had the little witch’s castle we made out of a Quaker Oats box as part of a book report in 6th grade.

He was an avid photographer (and still is, on his last visit to New York he shot, printed and put together a beautiful bound book of black and white images of the trip), has dabbled in metal work & sculpture, is a great cook, a witty writer.

Me & pop

After I moved back to California from New Zealand in my twenties, I lived with my dad and his wife Michela while I was getting on my feet. We had dinner together every night, comparing notes on our day and seeing what we could check off of the list I had made for myself: open bank account, get job, buy car, rent apartment.

Even after I moved out I went over often. One night, heart broken after a break up with a boy friend dad hugged me and listened to me cry for awhile and then briskly cleaned my tear-stained glasses, poured me a stiff brandy and sent me off to bed (best parenting moment ever).

With our cat Puzzle

In my thirties, rattled by our mom’s death and with the move to North Carolina on the horizon, I insisted that we agree to keep in close contact, making a weekly phone date. We’ve stuck to this schedule ever since, and I think we both look forward to our regular chats, which remind me of those dinners years ago.

I’m most often compared to my mom, whom I look like, and who also sewed. But when I look at my dad, I see a good dose of him in me as well. At least I hope I have some of his integrity, sensitivity and delight in the world.

Hiking. Something I hated as a kid….now I love. I’m hoping we’ll do one together sometime.

Working! Another thing we share πŸ™‚

Happy belated father’s day dad!!

Love O

11 Responses to “Norman Ross, an appreciation”

  1. alicia

    I’m in tears of joy and appreciation- thank you for sharing this and your sweet secrets about Ross. xo ac

  2. fran

    That’s a good retrospective. Love the scanned photos. I always look for similarities also. Ross must have loved this for Father’s Day. Good Job Oami.


    I loved your stories Oami, our parents often make so many sacrifices for us that we’ll never even know about, what a great way to show your appreciation! Thanks for being so candid, it’s very touching.

    • oami powers

      You deserve so many more beautiful words than this dad, but I hope it put across a tenth of my love.

  4. oami powers

    Alicia, Betty, Dave thank you! It’s your comments and support that give me the courage to sit down ever couple of weeks and write. Fran: good subject suggestion:).

  5. Ursula

    So true about Ross having that ability to pick up the thread of a conversation later on huh? He’s a delight to know. Jeremy loves Ross too btw πŸ™‚


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