Jump to content

My Father Allen

Recommended Posts

My father Allen was a native of Virginia. Born in 1953, his family relocated to Florida soon after. 

Dad was a baby boomer, a child of the 50s and 60s. At ten years old, he saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald live on television. The assassination of JFK always stuck with him. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Fleetwood Mac were the soundtracks of his youth, becoming an accomplished cross-country runner throughout high school and college in Florida and Alabama.

In 1983, as his father Bernard was dying of lung cancer, my father Allen got to know the woman who nursed him. Her name was Carol and she became my mother. Together, they welcomed me in 1988. 

Mom and Dad shared their love for art and history. My earliest memories are sitting with my parents and siblings in our townhouse apartment in Florida, drawing on a magna-doodle, as Dad showed us John Wayne's The Alamo and Davy Crockett: King of The Wild Frontier. Those films lit an ever-burning passion in my heart for Texas history. 

At the age of 5 my parents gifted me with my first Alamo playset. At 6, my first coonskin cap. In 1998, we made our first trip to San Antonio, Texas to visit the Alamo. It was a truly magical experience. The sights and sounds stuck with me. Unfortunately, it was the last family vacation as my mother took her own life in September, a few short days before my 10th birthday. My father Allen took the weight of the world on his shoulders and tried to fill the void left by my mother's passing by making sure my siblings and I saw the world and created and cherished memories. 

In the early 2000s, my father's childhood home in Florida was close to being condemned. Wanting a home for himself and his children, Dad renovated the home with the Alamo's bell-shaped parapet. When the contractor messed up the iconic hump the first time, I redrew it for him and it was corrected. Neighbors asked, "Why are you building a Taco Bell in the middle of the street?"

We lived in our Alamo home throughout my high school years. After I graduated, the collapse of the housing market hit Florida hard. With the loss of his brother to cancer and his best friend to suicide, my father Allen was now hit with the inevitable loss of his home. Dad began to wonder if loss defined his life and what his purpose had become. 

In 2007, after I graduated high school, Dad and I visited the Alamo again. In August of that year, I interviewed actor Billy Bob Thornton about his role as David Crockett in The Alamo (2004) for my now-defunct Alamo website, Alamo Sentry. Realizing photography had been permitted, Dad sprinted several blocks to retrieve my digital camera from the car. Rushing back, Dad had a huge smile on his face as he took my photos with Billy Bob. I met my generation's Davy Crockett. As we left, Billy Bob turned to my Dad and said, "You've got a great kid there." All I could do was hug my Dad and smile in return. 

In 2010, I moved to San Antonio, Texas. Within four short months, I began working at The Alamo as a tour guide and also began a career as an Illustrator. It was at this same time that I seriously pursued living history as a hobby and began participating in Texas Revolution events. In 2013, unemployed and without a home, Dad moved to San Antonio where he lived with me and my wife for several years. He struggled for a time, but Dad eventually found his footing and found work in San Antonio.

Eventually, Dad began participating in living history events with me. One year, he was asked to portray David Crockett for a gig at the Witte Museum. Portraying Crockett renewed my father's faith in himself. My father Allen related with Crockett in many ways as both men had suffered incredible tragedies in their lives but found the strength to push forward. For a couple of years, Dad portrayed David Crockett at The Battle for Texas: The Experience Attraction in the Rivercenter Mall until it closed its' doors. Soon after, a mutual friend opened up a gift shop, Davy Crockett's Cabin, inside of the Menger Hotel. Having coined the name for the shop, Dad portrayed Crockett once more and would engage with visitors in front of the Menger Hotel.  It was around this same time that my father's health began to deteriorate. 

My father Allen had the honor of portraying David Crockett for The Alamo's annual An Evening with Heroes living history program held during the commemorations of the famous siege and battle. This was one of the highlights of his time donning the coonskin cap. And one of his last. 

In April of 2021, Dad was diagnosed with Type ll Diabetes. He proactively made changes in his lifestyle and eating habits and began going on afternoon walks. On May 28th, 2021, wearing a Davy Crockett t-shirt and running shorts, Dad went for a walk in the late afternoon heat. Covered in sweat, Dad returned to his apartment where he sat in his recliner and passed away from a heart attack. To honor his memory, a memorial service was held with friends and family at The Alamo and his hometown in Florida where we grew up. Per his wishes, his ashes were scattered across the country. 

Nearly two years have gone by since Dad passed. The loss is immeasurable. The grief comes and goes in waves. My father Allen left such a lasting, loving impact on my life. On the days that I struggle, I remember his words of guidance. When I think about my father, I think about the late evenings we spent on Alamo Plaza looking at the Alamo and contemplating all of its' mysteries. I think about our dinners at Cracker Barrel and his goofy, made-up words. I think about my father's smile and laugh and his warmth returns. 

"I leave this rule for others when I am dead. Be always sure you're right, then go ahead!' - David Crockett


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use