Danny & Family

Just Some Random Stories About Me and My Family

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Bittersweet Anniversary

It's hard to believe that seven years has passed. It seems like just yesterday. Brady's 7th birthday party was taking place on a hot Saturday afternoon. Laura was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Nina. We were trying to keep our guests comfortable in our patio, but that's hard to do with little shade and a warm breeze.

The kids were playing in the backyard, alternating between our Dough boy pool and the jumper with slide that we rented for the party.

My mom (Mama Norma) and grandmother came to the party, but my dad (Papa Kirk) had to work. Papa worked at Disneyland, and on this particular day was working at the toll booths at the main parking lot entrance.

I remember that the party was pretty much over, although there were a few guests left. Some friends and relatives traveled quite a ways to join us, so they weren't in any hurry to leave. Most of the guests had gone when I got a call from my sister that something had happened to Papa at work, but she was not sure what. All we knew is what hospital he was taken to.

It wasn't until I arrived that I found out the sad news. Sometime during the following week the funeral was held, and during the reception after the Mass, several employees of Disneyland (co-workers and friends of Papa) made a presentation to Mama Norma. They had all signed one of Papa's uniform shirts, which they gave to my mom. And they presented Mama with a plaque to commemorate a stone marker which would be placed in the large open area between the main gates to Disneyland and California Adventure.

Every time any family member visits Disneyland, they stop at the marker to visit Papa. Here is a picture of the actual marker:
Luckily it's very easy to find, as it's at the end (or tip) of a large group of other markers. Anyone (guest or employee) can purchase one of these markers, and if you've ever been to Disneyland or California Adventure, you have to walk over hundreds of these in order to enter either park.

The date on Papa's marker (11/6/1994) refers to his date of hire at Disneyland. The initials PL (for Parking Lot) indicate the job group he was attached to. Papa performed several jobs, including toll booth operator, parking lot attendant, parking tram driver, and train conductor on the Disneyland train that circles the whole park.

The next time you visit Disneyland or California Adventure, do stop by and say "hi" to Papa Kirk. Here's a picture of me, Nina and Brady doing just that:



  • At August 19, 2007 10:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said…

    Dan, I've actually have come to really appreciate Disney. And this adds to that feeling.

  • At August 21, 2007 11:46 AM, Blogger Jenster said…

    We'll probably be going to Disneyland next year when we come out to visit family. I'll definitely look for the marker!

    I'm so sorry for your unexpected loss - even though it was 7 years ago. I know you have no doubt where he is right now, though and there's so much peace in that knowledge.

  • At August 21, 2007 9:25 PM, Blogger v said…

    That was a lovely, if bittersweet, post. And what a great photograph of you and your children with the marker.

  • At August 22, 2007 12:22 AM, Blogger LA said…

    Bittersweet indeed. Anniversaries are hard, but it's nice to memorialize our loved ones. That's a sweet picture of you and your children.

    Sometime will you explain why you called your dad Papa Kirk even though his name was Carlos?

  • At August 22, 2007 4:41 PM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    Flix, Jen, V, LA,
    Thanks for the comments, the pictures were taken back in January.

    The marker, which is actually a cement tile, is one of many. It's easy for our family to find my dad's, but if any of you (Jen) really want to look for it; it's going to be hard to find.

    LA, I'd love to share the story of how the name Kirk came about. It will be in a future post.

  • At August 22, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger LA said…

    Looking forward to it, Dan!

  • At August 23, 2007 11:34 AM, Blogger Diane said…

    What a great way to commemorate his life!

  • At August 23, 2007 12:09 PM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    Diane, Thanks.

  • At August 23, 2007 1:19 PM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said…

    This was a sad, yet lovely story, Dan.

  • At September 02, 2007 8:44 AM, Blogger Beverly said…

    I came over from Carmi's to congratulate you on winning the caption contest, but I find tears running down my face as I read your story here. A beautiful story.


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