- He was the Burt Reynolds of third grade. Plaid pants, turtleneck and possibly a mustache, at least that’s what I remember. We all loved him. Patrick Dion. His side kick was Howie Brown. I think they both had the same Snoopy lunch boxes, but maybe Bionic Man…anyhow….he is in all my Hamlin Hawk class pictures….I’ve known him since first grade. I have two distinct memories of our Hawk days…the first is what I fondly dubbed as the “Domino Day” or “Why I would NEVER EVER be an elementary school Teacher..” The Domino Day was the day poor Mrs Tewhey had us in line going to the gym or somewhere – maybe playground – our school was tiny so we weren’t going too far….all of the sudden a ripple went through the line….someone up front started the throwing up, with Howie or Pat being grossed out and tossing their cookies next….then another person – could have been Tommy or Billy, maybe Becky – I doubt it, she was probably laughing….I just remember it vividly and often wonder if it’s because the little milk cartons were delivered in a crate outside of classroom doors at like 9am to be distributed for noon – lunch….sigh. Poor Mrs Tewhey….the next memory is our Christmas concert and we were in sixth grade. It must have been in the evening….I wore a maroon velour pantsuit and my mom shellacked my hair high. I was beautiful in my eyes…Patrick gave us all gum. I remember all of us standing in line to go into the theater (just the gym)…blowing bubbles, big bubbles and laughing…. I wonder what we did with the gum when we had to sing? Ah life…then we grew up and grew apart and Pat moved to Florida and everything was unknown until Facebook arrived and suddenly we are posting our Little League pics from 1975 and asking if anyone knows what ever happened to Mr Coughlin….
I decided to start my first Throwback Tuesday (which may occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays, but most likely a surprise each week…) with Patrick Dion because I can’t help but smile when I think about him. Even though our interview was on facebook messenger, I still put on lipstick.
First, let’s answer the most important question…..what song brings you right smack back to those golden years of adolescence…. “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” And when asked to talk about favorite childhood memories, Pat cited, “…playing flashlight tag in the neighborhood..going out in the farmers field with everybody…..running into the cornfields, Mahoney Junior High school dances….going down to Jake’s pond in the winter to listen to the snow falling while laying on the iced pond…” I can see it all now, so clearly, Pat.
Pat moved to Florida because he had an opportunity to work for his brother in construction. He was restless and wanted change in his life. “I had just met my future wife and was thinking this is an opportunity for a big change and a new beginning.” Growing up he had aspirations of being a police officer but ended up making a successful career in the pool industry and never looked back. Believe me, the pics of his back yard are gorgeous. He sends them to us Mainers usually in the midst of a nor’easter.
So why did I title this “The Incredible Hunk”…well, Pat loved the Hulk since childhood. He liked Batman and other strong superheroes…but the Hulk was the ultimate for him. He is an avid weight lifter and has a tattoo of the Hulk on his chest. I saw this from a picture (I know girls, swoon) anyhow, I asked him about it. “….when my wife passed away I ended up having it tattooed on my chest – that he was coming out of my insides because that is how I felt…angry and the only way I knew how to express this was to have it tattooed on my body.” I had to pause when I read that. And think about it. Then he added, “Susan was the love of my life and my soulmate….I have a son who is my greatest accomplishment in my life and he keeps me grounded. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him or family by my side.” Do you see why Pat is such an old, beautiful soul?
I asked him if he misses Maine and if his life in Florida changed him. “Definitely (Maine) shaped me to who I am today…..the people in Maine are a different bread compared to Florida…Mainers are down to earth and they care about people…. I will always remember where I came from and the people that impacted my life.”
“Now I sit on my back patio under my tiki, on my hammock and taking pictures of sunsets and realizing how beautiful the world is.”
I adore you, Patrick Dion. Thank you for letting me show the world how beautiful YOU are.