Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Memories Of My Father

My mom, dad and I 1980
My father and great grandmother 1942 Berlin, Germany

My father 1941 Berlin, Germany

My father at 18

Memories through the eyes of friends:


The first time I met Ralph I was drawn into his eyes and I was absolutely positive that I had known him before. Actually I hadn’t, not in this lifetime anyway.

Ralph was a magnetic, charismatic man. I was dating his best friend, Patrick whom I later married. While Ralph was alive our life was a whirlwind of excitement and activity, always involving Ralph and his family.

Everybody loved Ralph, everybody wanted to be around him. He glowed with energy and enthusiasm. His dying, at such a young age, was one of the greatest tragedies for Patrick and I, as it was for everyone who knew him.

Thank God he left so much of himself in Terri for us to enjoy and love.

Judy Suberi Cunningham

Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 5:02 PM

Subject: Memories of your Dad...

Memories of your Dad...I knew him as Dad, his name was Ralph. Most vivid in my mind was the huge love he showered over his children, and how he was there 100% when he was hanging out with Terri and her bestest friend, me.

We were dining at a place on Sunset Boulevard; he listened to our stories, and really paid attention, hanging on to each word. He made you feel like the world stopped and nothing else mattered but sharing time with his daughter and her bestest friend, me. I felt like part of the family, and I know that warmth has carried over to his daughter, who also makes me feel exactly the same way. She is still my bestest friend.

To Terri with love always from Donna 10/21/06

Sunday, December 03, 2006 6:10 PM

Hi, It’s been way to long... I can't even believe it's been 25 years since you lost your dad & your brother!! I don't know how much I remember; I remember the story about the big slobbering Great Dane (?) who stole the moneybag. I remember his Orange Mercedes I remember Ralph being VERY handsome, and he thought so too. I also remember when they left you for the weekend with only popcorn to eat, and we thought you would never shit again!! Do you remember when we thought it was a great big deal when we could drive the THING, because it was better than driving the gremlin of yours? We were so much COOLER in the THING! You guys had that cool sunken living room (den) that we used to hang out in all night W/the velvet brown couches that went on forever... How mad your brother would get when we would go through his room to yours, or we listened to him on the phone. I remember all your crazy relatives (though not their names). I wonder why I don't remember all the details, I guess that should be between me you, @your dad, (we'll talk some time.) I know I remember the day you and I met, at Diamonds (little people shop) and the great friendship that we had, it’s hard to think that was (28?) years ago. Mostly I remember that house on Oak street was a cool, safe, fun place to spend a lot of time, even if we didn’t go any where, there was always something happening there. Your parents were the ultimate COOL parents, and everyone felt at home there... How’s your mom? Are you all ready for the holidays? You know my thought: BAH HUMBUG! Give me a call soon; I left you a voice mail W/the #s, (all still the same). We've had a recent life-changing event; I'll fill you in. Of course I also remember how you met Rick, Meeting his dad, and your whole pregnancy w/Danielle, and the birth of all the other kids. But that’s a whole nother page. XOXOXO. Cyndie Hill
I met Ralph Hanauer at the hotel Bel Air in 1971 while working for a car service. He drove up in a big black limousine. I was recovering from a broken leg, and had waited most of the day without a fare. Ralph knew my boss and said he was a cheap skate. He took my name and telephone number and said he would call me. I never thought I’d hear from him again…two days later he called me and told me to take his limousine…the car was at his house and the keys were under the seat to the Hilton hotel and pick up a Movie star. I couldn’t believe it! I mean he didn’t even make me take a test drive. When I picked up the car there was a note telling me if I finished late to collect the money, take the limousine home and call him the next day. God I couldn’t believe this guy…he gives a complete stranger an expensive limousine, a fare and collect the money and take the car home. “Is this guy nuts or what?’’ Well that was the start of a relationship that turned out to be one of the best of my life. We became best friends, more…brothers!!Ralph and I worked together for the next ten years until his death in 1981. We could read each other’s minds. Ralph was never afraid to try a new adventure, sometimes impulsive. Where I was somewhat conservative, the combination made our relationship more stable. He taught me not be afraid to take a chance, he said “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE”. I on the other hand would tell Ralph to research the project more and then make a choice. I think Ralph was a truly special person…he was a father figure to his friends and family and wouldn’t hesitate to help one out at any time. Once when he had the Lucky Lady, a boat was docking along side when one of the deck hands fell into the water as the boat was backing into the slip…the sailor was going to get caught in the boats propeller when Ralph reach down and with one swoop pulled the sailor out of harms way, then turned and walked away as though nothing had happened. He saved the mans life…no doubt. I remember one day I was broke down on a freeway some where out in the valleyWondering what to do next, all of a sudden a car pulled up behind mine and who got out…RALPH!! We were always doing that. Judy and I were in Palm Springs and I told Judy that Ralph is here. About an hour later Ralph spotted us and honked, we were always finding one another like that.Ralph had a great sense of humor. We were in a market buying some food when a man pushed his cart in front of Ralph and blocked him from getting his food. Ralph just stood looking at the man and didn’t say anything, but started to follow the man up and down the isles. The man left his cart and went to another isle to get another product…Ralph took the mans cart pushed it to the other end of the store and put it into a check out line. I was laughing so hard that when the man was wondering around the store looking for his cart he must have figured we had something to do with it’s disappearance. He walked over to us and said, “What did you guys do with my buddy?" Ralph said “your buddy”??? Mister your crazy.” I almost fell on the floor I laughed so hard. We had many great times together. Ralph and I were the best of friends. Even now I find myself using the gifts he gave me in my every day life.Things I learned from knowing him. My life is a lot fuller because of his friendship. He is truly missed.

Patrick Cunningham 12/27/2006

1 comment:

terrihanauer-brahm said...

My father loved me unconditionally. This is a tribute to his life. I loved him very much and am so sorry for anything I did as a child that hurt him.