I never really knew my grandfather, Chubby. I was too young to remember what he was like. I wish I could remember the day I met him for the first time. From what I’ve been told, it changed my dad’s life.
Brian, Chubby, and Jason, taken on the day dad and Chubby reunited. Chubby still looking a little “shook up.”
Dad returned to Cincinnati after law school to work for Chubby’s real estate firm. They quarreled occasionally, as fathers and sons do, especially in a family business. Dad told me later he realized it was mostly his fault. He was school educated, so he presumed he was also business smart.
My dad and my granddad disagreed on how to run the business, a lot. One fight went too far. Horrible things were said. A standoff ensued. My dad worked in a second floor office. Chubby’s office was downstairs. They didn’t speak for six months.
My mom was pregnant with me at the time. I was born May 24, 1978. Almost twelve pounds. Mom had a cesarean section, and needed a few days in the hospital to recover. Dad was overjoyed. His first-born son.READ MORE
In 1960, I was just 12. Remember The Christmas Story? Little Ralphie. The Red Ryder BB Gun? I was obsessed. I had to have one. Grand visions of hunting with Chubby, my dad. One problem … it was July. Christmas was six months away.
I consulted the big man about it. “Well,” Dad said, “Aaron could use some help at the office. Let me see what I can do.”
Aaron “Meticulosity” Greenlee
Aaron was a gentleman in his 60’s. The custodian. The comedian. Cracking jokes with the agents. Everyone loved Aaron. His “office”? A plywood enclosure in the basement. His black metal desk… meticulous. Pens and pencils lined up like soldiers. The surface — polished to perfection.
Dad’s real estate office had cherry wood paneling and mahogany desks. So my first assignment from Aaron — wood polishing. I worked the entire morning. Polished every square inch of that wood. Aaron would be impressed. He would tell Chubby. A bonus for sure!
My dad’s nickname was Chubby. I never knew why though, he was so fit and trim. “A name he picked up in the Air Force during the war,” Mom said. I asked him once… “I had that name before I knew I had it!” he laughed. “My old war buddies stuck me with it. I still have no idea why. I mean, look at me!”
After the war, Chubby came back home to Cincinnati. Married mom. Had me and my sister, Linda. Many of those war buddies came home too, and they needed to buy homes. Dad saw an opportunity.
Dad’s Incredible Toaster Plan
A short exam. A fifty-cent fee. He picked up his real estate license at the local apothecary (how times have changed). The Harold W. Hague Company was born.
Dad worked incessantly. His company flourished. Most clients needed loans to buy homes. He saw another opportunity.
Dad founded Columbia Savings and Loan. Rented a small building right across the street from his real estate office. In those days, a savings & loan earned a profit the old fashioned way — by accepting deposits, then making loans from those deposits. Dad needed deposits.
My dad said lots in very few words. In one sentence he often said all. These nuggets of savvy I call “Chubby Rules,” named for my dad.
I’ve shared Chubby Rules with my sons for 25 years. Some were from Dad. Others I’ve gathered along the way. At Savvy Dad, we write stories about remarkable dads. What they do. What they say. How they impact their kids.
Today we do something unique. It’s a collection of lessons from an array of great dads. It’s a gold mine of savvy in very few words — modeled after Chubby Rules from my very own dad. Here’s an original Chubby Rule:
“Learn something about everything, everything about something.”
When I was a kid, Dad didn’t sleep. On weekdays, he’d leave each morning at 8, stay at the office all night, come home at first light, shower, shave, a quick plate of eggs, a hug for Mom, and back at it again.
It was Saturday morning. I munched Sugar Pops. Chubby ate eggs. “Dad,” I said, with a curious face, “On weekdays, why don’t you sleep?”
Chubby peered up from his plate, eyes double big-big.
“Didn’t Mom tell you? I was born without eyelids.”
I stared into Dad’s pupils. No eyelids? Yeah, right!READ MORE
Dad was proud. So was I.
I had worked hard to stand on that stage.
by Greg Hague
May 1974. Washington D.C.
Law school graduation. What a magnificent day!
May 2012. Another proud dad on his son’s magnificent day. My son, Casey’s law school graduation (with me).
I felt like I’d made it in life. Such innocence. It makes me smile today. The ceremony concluded. Chubby left with me. I drove. We were alone.
My dad was normally a talkative man. Not that day. Strange? We drove blocks without saying a word. He then looked over and said, “Greg, would you like to stop for a snack?” I said, “Sure, why not.” I was always up for a snack. READ MORE