Note: Johnny Cash & Neil Young stamps ’cause my Daddy loves them. 

My dad is the bomb dot com. Honestly though, the older I get the more I appreciate my ‘Faj’ as I like to call him. He turned 65 a couple weeks ago on August 29th. A few months ago, I got to thinkin’. 65 is old. Sorry, Dad. Sixty five years is a long time! I’ve only known my Dad for twenty of them, what did he do before I was around? Before my Momma was around? 
I know my Dad served in Vietnam, went to college on a baseball scholarship, and went to Woodstock. He played trombone in school, he doesn’t like jelly, and I’ve never seen him turn down a meal. 
Thats nice, but what was my Dad like when he was younger? 
Who better to ask than his friends?
 Inspired, I went to work. In our age of technology, I nabbed email addresses from Facebook, my mom’s address book and wherever I could find them. I sent them this:

“Hello everyone!
If you’re receiving this email, you probably know that our dad, Dennis Mullen, is turning 65 next month (much as he would hate us to be reminding everyone, I’m sure.) To celebrate his birthday, we’d like to put together a little surprise to let him know that his nearest and dearest are thinking of him. We’re going to try and create “65 Years of Memories” by filling 65 envelopes with a memory his friends and family have of him.
And this is where you come in! If you have a spare moment in the next few days, we would be so grateful if you’d jot down a favorite memory you have of our dad and put it in the post. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — you can just write it down on a piece of paper and sign your name. You can mention anything you like — although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, we welcome it — we’ve got 65 envelopes to fill!), but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so we can split them up. 
Thank you so, so, so much for participating — we know everyone is busy with their own lives, and we do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when he reads all the memories people have of him! (Please don’t forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!) Thank you so much again. 
Kate, Sarah, and Libby Mullen”

I sent. I waited. I liked the response I got. 
I got letters from my Dad’s brothers, cousins, nieces, friends, coworkers, old friends, and war buddies. I read some stuff I might have been better off not knowing. Overall, I got this awesome glimpse into my Dad’s life that I might not have seen otherwise.

My Dad on tha streets of London

But, this isn’t (or isn’t supposed to be) about me. Now that I’ve got thirty-ish letters, I need to make them presentable. The majority of my responses came in emails or texts. Two or three came in the post. So, I made the decision to type them all up and have them all printed into a book.
I browsed for fonts on California Fonts and Lost Type Co Op.
The background I made can be downloaded here.
UCF has a print shop, so I got my book printed and bound for a pretty reasonable rate.

Being carless and two hours away, I wasn’t able to be home for my Dad’s actual birthday, but my family came up the following weekend for my sister’s birthday. Read about that nonsense here.

I had fun putting it together & reading all the memories, but the best part was giving my Dad the letters. The book wasn’t ready in time for our Disney trip, so I printed out each letter & put them in a manilla envelope, tied the stack of envelopes up & voila! Makeshift last minute solution. 

I think he liked it.

My Dad is the kinda guy who puts everyone before himself. Example: When I was in 8th grade, we spent a couple days at Fort Wilderness in a cabin. Towards the end of our trip, my Dad had a pretty nasty stomach ache, but since we were on vacation, he didn’t say anything. A day passes, and we head home. I’m woken up the next day by my Mom, saying she has to bring my Dad to the hospital.
What ended up happening: While we were on vacation, my Dad’s appendix burst. I can’t speak from experience, but when my sister had appendicitis, she was miserable and her appendix hadn’t exploded yet. Dad had waited so long to go to the doctor, that they when they operated they pulled out multiple feet of gangrene intestines. Instead of putting an end to our vacation (which could have been totally acceptable), he suffered his insides rotting away so as not to ruin our fun. I think that says a lot about my Dad… and his pain tolerance.

That said, it was nice to do something for a man who does everything for everyone else.
I truly have one of the best role models and Dads out there, I’m quite lucky :)

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