S: My Dad 1945 - 2011
BC: I will love you for the length of my life, not the length of yours. Happy trails, Daddy.
FC: My Dad | Wendell Michael Tull June 27, 1945 - August 31, 2011
1: And it begins | What an amazing journey this little boy traveled! | Mike Tull was born at 4:57 p.m. in Little Rock, Arkansas
2: A childhood full of adventure | A card my dad created for his mom | Sixth grade | The stories he told me about his life - maybe they were true and maybe not.
3: Dad didn't have a favorite subject | A childhood not terribly easy | He was good at everything and interested in everything . . . so life wasn't always easy for my dad. He'd rather have been outside than in and his grades reflected it. He was loved by all, though. | Dad had a way of putting humor into every story he told and many stories were almost unbelievable. He was such a creative storyteller but never one to hold back a difficult tale. He spent much time with his grandfather and uncle and adored the disciplined yet comical way they introduced him to nature . . . he grew to love the outdoors.
4: Daddy loved to write . . . until the end of his life, he kept notebooks full of sketches and letters and stories and poems. Some were funny and some were full of hidden sadness. It must have made his mother very proud that he was good at something she loved so much.
6: Mom and Dad married on Friday, the fourth of June, in 1965, when they were expecting their first baby, Wesley Matthew. It was a tumultuous marriage which ended in divorce when I was twelve years old. I didn't see my dad for years but I remember him coming to my high school graduation. He was wearing an ivory suit and he waved at me as I sat in the bleachers. I didn't see him again until I went to college. He showed up with a teddy bear book bag, primer pencils and tablets and said, "I missed it the first time. I don't want to miss it again." And thus, my dad's life began a new chapter . . . as a father.
7: There aren't many photos of us as a family of four . . . but this is one of my favorites. Dad had a smile on his face which, in later years, wasn't common. Mom was always beautiful. We were a family. | Happier Times | The Tull Family: Mike, Trina, Wesley & Margot
8: Found this among photos Dad had kept in boxes over the years.
9: My dad loved animals. In his later years, he'd sit at a table near a window and stare out at the deer that he fed with salt blocks. The foxes, raccoons and birds came right up to his window. He told amazing stories of communication, admiration, fascination and peace. While he suffered from what must have been extreme pain, he found comfort in Yeller, his beloved dog, and all that nature could give him.
11: Dad had two sisters, one older and one younger. While I don't know much about their childhood together, I know that he adored both of them and seemed to never tire of listening to their adventures and of wanting to be the "big brother" he thought they both needed and wanted. I've never known a man who wanted so badly to keep his siblings close.
13: The Tull Family Wendell & Ruth Tull & their children, Mike, Tricia & Marian | I called them Pappy & Bumbie and my children called my father Pappy. They were so kind to me and I adored them both. | These photos of Pappy & Bumbie were taken when Pappy was 20 and Bumbie was 18. | My aunts and grandparents were always so incredibly special to me. Tricia was the hip young college student with the handsome boyfriend. They were so much fun to hang out with. Marian was loving and affectionate and incredibly responsible. Dad was the rebel. I hope I got a little something from them all
15: Dad loved working and was most proud of the respect he garnered from his work was an electrician and electrical contractor. He would have worked until he died if his health would have allowed it.
16: My Dad & me . . . I was pregnant with Benjamin
17: So many twists and turns to the journey that was my dad's life. I regret that I wasn't close enough to be there for him day by day. Our relationship developed on the phone - we talked for hours and hours. He made me laugh. He kept me awake. He gave me perspective. He taught me forgiveness. He was my hero.
19: There was something about those two. | Pappy & Benjamin Through the Years 2000-2011
20: Pappy & Eli instantly loved each other when they first met when Eli was just months old. As it was with all my kids, he found a kindred spirit in Pappy. Both are rebels and they were adorable together.
21: No matter how Pappy felt, he was ready for adventures with Eli. | Pappy never missed a moment of the time he had with them to entertain and show them how much he loved them. | The first time they met each other. Love. | It's very important to get to know your grandkids no matter how often - or not - you see them!
23: July of 2011. The last time my kids would ever see my dad.
24: Pappy & Dawson | And they meet - and they love.