Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dear Old Dad

Edward "Socco" Stern, Sr.
On August 6th,  I celebrated my father’s 108th Birthday.  He was a remarkable man, but we shared many disagreements. I can’t remember what all of them were about, but I do remember well the so-called "last press conference" of Richard Nixon which took place on November 7, 1962, following his loss to Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Appearing before 100 reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that "you don't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."

Dad was so convinced that Nixon was right about his future, I made him a bet that Richard Nixon would be back and the press would kick him around again.
Of course, we all know that Nixon soundly defeated Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election, making a political comeback that seemed nearly impossible after the "last press conference." I’m sure Dad voted for Nixon and I remember he paid off the bet.
One day Dad was early to work and decided to stop at a small men’s shoe store in the lobby of Seattle’s Smith Tower where Dad’s office was located on the second floor. The shoe store was owned by a wonderful man named Moe Bernard. 

“Moe's door was locked,” he said, “and there was a sign in the window reading GONE FOR TWO WEEKS, PLEASE WAIT.”
When I went into the advertising business he entered a contest at the Bon Marche (now Macy’s) in Seattle. It was sponsored by Jaguar Shirts. He purchased one, which incidentally looked terrible on him, and entered his slogan to help stamp out drunk driving. 

“How do you like this?” he asked me. “If on a jag you are, stay at the bar, don’t drive your car.” 

“I’m proud of you for entering,” I replied, deflecting the question.  He didn’t win. 

The other day, searching through old saved paperwork, I found a letter he wrote and a response he received a year before he died. I’ll let him speak for himself:  

Happy Birthday Dad. I hope you’re still taking your Unicaps.


  1. As always, your blog makes me smile:) Your Dad was an awesome man!

  2. I love your stories, David! Xo Lisa