Showing posts with label Fathers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fathers. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Father's Day: Some Things To Do and Think About

I don't mean to scare you, but Father's Day is next Sunday.  Better start thinking about that card you need to send or that present you need to buy.

I know there are those of you out there who think Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and other so-called "holidays" are just Hallmark's way of getting us to buy those overpriced cards.  It all might have started that way, but I find these kinds of "holidays" to be an opportunity to take a break from our hectic Me-Me-Me lives and do something nice for those we love.

I mean, get real.  How often do you do or say something nice to your Dad just because you love him?

So there are two prongs to this day we call Father's Day.  Prong one, if your Dad is still around and Prong two, if he isn't.

If your Dad is still around and you love him, then Father's Day is a day to remind yourself of that and ask yourself, "What could I do today to show him how much I love him and how grateful I am for all he has done for me?"

My Dad once told me that I could never repay him for everything he had done for me (he was right), so when he asked me to do something for him, he expected that I wouldn't forget.  That I would do it. That was said to me, of course, after I had screwed up.  But even though I was young, I got it. OK, Dad, sounds like a deal.

So whether or not your Dad actually said something like that to you, like my Dad did, it's really true.  If you have children, you know what my Dad was talking about.  If you don't have them yet, then just think about what your Dad has done for you.  You can't repay him like for like, but you can certainly repay him by sharing yourself, by thanking him, by doing something special for him that he would like.

If your Dad has passed away, as mine has, then Father's Day is a day for memories.  It's a day to honor him by spending some time thinking of him and all that he did for you and what you two did together.


(I'm the big one with the bonnet)!

If you will indulge me a bit, I would like to share a few anecdotes about my Dad. 

I know I have written about him before ("What Makes a Great Father?"), so I hope I don't repeat myself (my kids accuse me of that all of the time), but here are some things I remember about my Dad (and I am going to apologize in advance for any sentimentality - and there will be some).

There were trips to the ice cream store and caramel apples (we actually called them taffy apples); cider and homemade donuts in the fall (my Dad made the donuts); my Dad would take me with him to the music store where we would listen to records together in those private rooms they had; when I was a teenager, he would always let me have the car to drive my friends around; and he bought me my first pair of high heels (my mother wanted to keep me about five years old for the rest of my life). 

So many memories....

  • "You can't afford NOT to buy it."  I think I have to blame my Dad for my lack of thriftiness. He himself was a bit of a spendthrift, according to my Mom.  When I would see something I liked and it was on sale, really marked down, my Dad would utter that phrase "You can't afford NOT to buy it." I think it was more him giving me permission than anything else, and he probably said that to himself, too, to justify his spending, but it felt good to have him want me to have something.  Likewise, my Dad also believed that if you didn't get that thing "you couldn't live without," even if you couldn't afford it, later when you had all of the money in the world, you would never find that one thing again and it would always bother you.  He was right about the former, but I think I need to work on the "can't live without it" part. 

  • My Dad played trumpet in a dance band for all of the years I can remember.  His band was actually hired to play at MY PROM!!!  I was mortified.  Who wants their parent at her prom?  Now this was 1966. We still wore long dresses and long gloves and our hair up (though things were starting to get psychedelic if my dress is any indication). 
 





      
I wish I still had those earrings!

And my Dad bought me these matching leather shoes (because I couldn't live without them)!




       This was also a time that was probably one or two years before high
       schools started hiring rock bands to play at their proms. At our prom, the
       band was one of those combos you would see playing down at the beach
       so the old folks could show off their foxtrots.  The music was pretty staid,
       and we kids still waltzed around in each other's arms. I didn't like my Dad
       being at my Prom, but I must say when my Dad got up
       to play a solo on "Wonderland by Night," I was very proud.

  • This might seem macabre, but one of my happiest memories now is when my Dad was dyingCertainly it's not a happy memory that he died nor was it happy at the time that he was dying, but what makes me happy now is that I was there in his last moments.  I knew my Dad was ill, but when my mother called to say my Dad was really bad, I left my job, my husband and my young children in California to go help my mother, who was 83 and all alone with my Dad at their home in Michigan, and I planned to stay there as long as I was needed.  When it became apparent that my Dad was about to leave us, but he was struggling and in pain, the hospice nurse said to me, "Sometimes the dying need permission to go."  I was alone at my Dad's bedside and said to him, "Daddy, you have been a wonderful father but we will be fine.  It's OK for you to go.  I love you very much."  And though he had been in a coma all of that time, he said, "I love you too."  I went for a walk in the snow and when I came back he was gone. I had heard his last words and they were words of love. So though I am sad to have lost my Dad, I am very happy that I was there with him at the end.


So no matter how you feel about Hallmark, in this hectic and crazy world we live in, we have Father's Day as a day to remind us about our Dads.  Let's do something nice for our Dads on Father's Day.  If Father's Day spurs us to take pause and think of our Dads, then thank you, Hallmark.  But if you really, really hate Hallmark, you don't have to buy a card.  You can make one or write a heartfelt letter of appreciation.



 

My Dad was a wonderful father.  I know I have talked about him many times on this blog, but I can't help it.  He was an inspiration, and I miss him very much and wish that he was still here now, especially now that I am of a certain age. He didn't drink so we couldn't have drinks together, but I would love to probe that brain of his now.  I realize that I don't really know very much about my Dad and what he thought about his life and all of that.  I do know he wanted to be a cowboy, he loved guns and big American cars, he could fix just about anything, he was very understanding when I had a problem and he had a curious mind.  Isn't it sad that we only really appreciate our parents once they are gone?


He was also very patriotic.  The red, white and blue motif was not an accident. I think that jacket was from the Olympics and the hat?...well, like I said, he wanted to be a cowboy.  The shirt and necktie?  A constant.  He was ever the gentleman which made it very easy to buy him Father's Day gifts.  Ties, a given, and cuff links, because he always wore French cuffs.

So memories are important on Father's Day.  They honor our Dads but they also bring comfort to us.  I enjoy thinking about my Dad and writing about him.  He deserves to be remembered.

If your Dad is still alive, Father's Day is a chance to thank your Dad, but we shouldn't just do that on Father's Day.  We should be aware of our loved ones every day of the year and look for opportunities to show them we love them, especially now in light of recent events.  In the blink of an eye, we could lose our loved ones, and we don't want to leave anything left unsaid. 

I share all of this with you because I don't want you to have any regrets.  Once they are gone, it's too late.  I would give anything to see my Dad again.

Since my Dad has passed away, I will spend the day thinking of him and remembering what a great Dad he was and how much he affected my life which in turn affected the next generation.

My parents were 72 when my son was born so he didn't have the opportunity to learn any lessons directly from his Granddaddy, but I have talked about my Dad so much that I hope some of it has rubbed off. 



One thing I know for sure is that my son, now the father of three, is a wonderful father.  So I like to think that something must have.

 


So next Sunday, Father's Day, if your Dad is no longer alive, spend the day thinking about him and what he meant to you and, if your Dad is still around, call him up and tell him something that will make him happy. 

Or better yet, why not just do it now?

 

Thanks for Reading!
 
See you Friday


for my review of


 "Love and Friendship"


and


 The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 

and the latest on


"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 
 I Die Project."




 


 
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer






Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Some Thoughts on Thoughtfulness (Rosy the Reviewer's "Happiness Trilogy, #2")

If I had to describe my Dad in one word, it would be "thoughtful."

Yes, he thought big thoughts, but that's not what I am really talking about here. 

What I am really talking about here is his thoughtfulness that made others happy.

Speaking of big thoughts, though, you can tell I am on a bit of a "big thoughts" bent with my "How Self Aware Are You...Really?" post of a couple of weeks ago and now this one.  I think I will do one on "Mindfulness" next to make a sort of "Happiness Trilogy," because, in my opinion, those three concepts - Self-Awareness, Thoughtfulness and Mindfulness - make up the three most important traits to lead to personal happiness and the happiness of those around you.

But anyway, back to my Dad.



 
(That's my nephew photo bombing my Dad's picture before anyone knew what photo bombing was!)

He was a deep thinker and endlessly curious. I would come staggering home at 2am after a night of doing stuff I wasn't supposed to, and my Dad would be up.  My mother tried to impose a curfew on me, but based on how disrespectful my older brother was to her, I, too, pushed the limits of her patience.  Unfortunately, my Dad and Mom did not present a united front so when she and I got into a fight about when I was supposed to be home, she left it to my Dad who eventually said to me, "Can you be home by 2am?"  I thought for a minute (not really.  I didn't think at all). I immediately said, "Sure, I can do that."

So back to my story. 

I would come teetering in at 2am and there my Dad would be working on his lesson.  He was a Christian Scientist and they have readings, also known as "lessons," that they are supposed to do every day. He was up late doing that, because my Dad was also a guy who always had several jobs.  There was his regular job, the one where he gave his paycheck to my Mom to run the household, and then there were his other part-time jobs where the money he earned from those was his to spend on his gun collection, cars, trumpets, whatever he was into at the time.

My Dad was also a night owl, so he would come home from his part-time extra job, probably have a snack (he used to love Ritz crackers and cheese and to amuse me he would line them up on the edge of the kitchen counter and then flick them one by one off the counter and into his mouth and then laugh), watch a little TV and then do his lesson.  So it was not unusual for him to be up at 2am, even though he had to be at his regular job by 8am the next morning, and in summer, when school was out, it was not unusual for me to come home that late.  Hey, I was a kid with a kid's agenda!

When I would arrive home smelling of smoke ("Oh, no, I don't smoke but some of my friends do.  Must have gotten on my clothes from them!"), and god knows what else, my Dad and I would invariably get into a discussion about religion or something I was interested in at the moment.  Though he had strong opinions about things, he was also very curious about what other people thought.

But anyway, long story short, that's not the kind of thoughtfulness I am talking about here.  I am talking about those little things we do that show we care about other people's feelings and that we are thinking of them.

My Dad was the most thoughtful person I have ever met, and I like to think that I am also a thoughtful person.  If so, I learned from the Master.

For example, if I gave my Dad a present, such as a shirt or a tie, he would be sure to wear it the next day to show me that he liked it.  Weeks or months later, he would remind me of how much he liked that shirt or tie by saying so or sending me a picture of him wearing it.


(Here he is showing off the BBQ apron sent to him by his granddaughter.  He always wanted to be a cowboy.  Don't you love the oven mitt?  It's a gun!)

He also would remember what I liked. 

If we were "window-shopping," a favorite past-time for middle-class families in the 50's and 60's when we actually had department stores downtown in our smaller towns, and I pointed out something l really liked, it would show up later as a birthday present or special surprise.


(He bought me that coat, hat and muff back in 1968 before we were enlightened about fur - I think he bought me that pink princess phone too!).

One time when my parents went on their usual Sunday drive, and I was old enough to be left home alone (because I HATED those Sunday drives), I decided to make them a special surprise dinner to have ready for them when they got home. I was probably eleven or twelve. I went through my mother's cookbooks and found some recipes that looked like I could manage them and made a three course meal complete with fancy silverware and cloth napkins.  I think I made something like baked eggs with spam as a starter, fish sticks for the main course and Jello for dessert.  Whatever, it wasn't very good, but my parents were surprised and ate it with relish (or pretended to).  Later, I found a $5.00 "tip" under my Dad's napkin.

When I was sick, he would come home from work, sit on the edge of my bed and ask me what I needed.  In a sad little squeaky voice, as pitiful as I could manage, I would say, "A milkshake" and he would either make me one or go down to Miller's Ice Cream and get me one.

I would also get these late night yearnings for a snack when my Dad and I were watching TV together, "but I didn't know what I wanted."  My Dad would quiz me and I would say, "No, not that.  No, not that," so then he would whip up something that he would make up and it would be just right, not so much because that was just the thing I wanted but because even as a young girl, I knew he was taking the time and trouble to make me happy.

That, to me, is what thoughtfulness really is. 

It's taking the time and trouble to do something nice for someone else, and it's also acknowledging, after the fact, when someone does something nice for you. 

How often do we go out of our way for others?  How often do we break a sweat and mess up our schedules to help someone or just to do something to make them happy?  And how often do we acknowledge it when someone does that for us?

Now I know you could make a case that I was one spoiled little girl, and in some ways, I guess I was.  But my Dad enjoyed making people happy, and I got that.  I grew up to be a person who wanted to emulate that thoughtfulness.  I never took any of it for granted.  I wanted to be like him.

You can imagine my shock, though, when I left home and discovered that not everyone was as thoughtful as my Dad! 


So as I ponder this whole issue of thoughtfulness, I have come up with some ways to be thoughtful (feel free to add your own):

  • After a party or dinner at a friends house, it's thoughtful to call, email (or heaven forbid) write a thank-you note to thank your host for a lovely time.

  • If you stay at a friend's house, it's thoughtful to come bearing gifts or splurge on a nice meal (or both) and write a heart-felt email or (there it is again) thank-you note when you get home.

  • Likewise, if friends stay with you, hopefully you have a room they can stay in. It's thoughtful to have the same amenities in the room that they might find in a hotel (without the room charge, of course!) - along with the clean linens and towels, bottled water, some snacks, robes, a place to hang their clothes, scented candle, anything you think would make them feel at home.

  • Remembering someone's birthday is a given, but birthday and Valentine's cards are almost a thing of the past as are Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other holiday where once sending a greeting card was common.  I know many of us castigate the greeting card world for its commerciality, but I know I love receiving cards from friends and loved ones reminding me they are out there and thinking of me. 

  • And it is especially thoughtful to write something heartfelt and personal on the card.  When I send out Christmas cards, I eschew the practice of bringing everyone up-to-date on the accomplishments of my family, but rather, I remind that person of a happy time we have had together or what that person has meant to me.  Likewise with birthday cards.

  • The same goes for presents. It's easy for us to get our presents from Amazon and that's fine.  But it's also a bit impersonal.  It's not like the old days when we went downtown and shopped for just the right thing.  Now we can choose something online and with one-click it's on it's way.  We're done. But adding a personal note takes away the impersonal aspect and reminds our friends and loved ones that we are thinking of them in a very personal way.

  • And when you receive a present, it's thoughtful to not only thank the sender right after you receive the gift, but it makes the person feel really good when you thank him or her later.  "You know, I really love that sweater you gave me for my birthday last year.  I wear it all of the time."

But thoughtfulness doesn't just pertain to gifts and cards.

It's keeping up with the details of the lives of your friends and family and following up:  "How did that test go?" - "How is your mother doing?" - "Did you really kill your boss?"

When you know someone is having a hard time, it's human nature to not know what to do and to not talk about it.  However, we all want to be acknowledged and even saying something comforting can be thoughtful.  If you can do more, then do more.  Reaching out is probably the most thoughtful thing we can do...and sometimes the hardest.

My Dad used to say that you show love when you do something you don't really want to do, but you do it anyway and expect nothing in return.



 
 
I think that also falls into the thoughtfulness category.

Being thoughtful is something the animals can't do.  It's a human thing.  We are all capable of it.  But we often don't do it because our lives are hectic, and let's face it, being thoughtful takes time and effort.  It takes work!

But what we maybe don't realize is that it doesn't take much to show thoughtfulness and that little thing might just be the little thing that someone needs to make his or her day:  getting an unexpected thank you note, getting an unexpected phone call or email that says "I was just thinking about you" or sending someone a little gift "just because."  Those things make people happy and when people are happy it's a better world out there. (I recently received a hand-written thank you note for a small spontaneous gift I had given a friend.  It made my day).

We have the opportunity for little acts of thoughtfulness every day. 
 
Holding the door open at the mall for a woman with a stroller; helping someone with their bags at the supermarket; babysitting so our friend or loved one can have a break; taking someone to the airport; picking up the check at lunch; emptying the dishwasher without being asked, so your wife doesn't have to (thanks, Hubby); not giving the finger to someone who cuts us off in traffic. 

It's all about being aware of what's going on around us and seeing the opportunity to do something thoughtful.

Years ago, when I was all alone at Victoria Station on my first trip to London hauling a couple of huge suitcases down some stairs to catch a train (this was before I got the message about traveling with huge suitcases), a young woman saw that I was struggling and anxious and grabbed one of my suitcases and helped me onto the train.  She didn't make a big deal out of it.  She helped me and then took her seat. But I have never forgotten her.

Another time when my marriage was falling apart and I was at the airport traveling back to my parents' house with my barely two-year-old son, it was obvious I was having a hard time managing him and my bags and a woman carried my bag and accompanied me to my gate.  And on the plane my son's seat was my lap. The passengers around us could tell I was in bad shape and played endless games of "high fiving" with my son as he ran up and down the aisle. I know, I was one of those passengers with a kid which goes to show, you never know what hell someone might be going through. I have never forgotten those people and those acts of kindness.

One last thing and, hang on, it's a bit of a rant.  Hey, it's Tuesday.  That's what I do.

Being thoughtful also means being thoughtful before we tear into someone. 

I know we all observe things and have stuff happen to us that makes us want to vent and to tell people off, but when we do that, how is that really helping anything?  It might make us feel better for the moment, but in the end, is it making the world a better place? If it is done constructively, yes, we have the power to change things, but sadly, most of us don't think of constructive criticism when we are angry.  Things can escalate quickly into a sad drama.

And when we feel the need to correct our friends and loved ones by venting, we run the risk of losing those relationships.  Is it really worth it to make our points?

I know we live hectic, crazy lives, but being thoughtful of others speaks to our highest selves.  If we lose that, we lose the best part of what makes us human.

If you need an incentive, think of this:  What a wonderful world it would be if everyone was looking for opportunities to be thoughtful.

And that's the reason I wrote this blog post.

That's the kind of world I want to live in and the world I want my grandchildren to grow up in. 

I thank my Dad for his example.



As part of my effort to practice self-awareness and my planned "Happiness Trilogy," (stay tuned for the "Mindfulness" segment - I know you can't wait), I plan to look for ways to be thoughtful every day.  It has to start somewhere.

Won't you join me?

What thoughtful gestures do you appreciate or remember?


Thanks for Reading!
 

See you Friday
 
 
for my review of the new movie


"Anomalisa"



and 


The Week in Reviews

 (What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

  

 and the latest on
  

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before


 I Die Project."


 

 

 



 
 
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to copy and paste or click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer










Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thank You Notes to My Dad

Last Sunday was my Dad's birthday. 




He would have been 107 had he lived.  He always said he would live to be a 100 and I think he would have had he not refused treatment for his treatable cancer.

With family members strewn all over the country and other family members no longer with us, I use birthdays as a time to remember the person.  But I also especially like to reflect on my parents and those who came before me.  I am a firm believer in the fact that you need to know where you have been to know who you are.

You know that bit that Jimmy Fallon does on the Tonight Show on Friday nights where he writes humorous thank you notes?  I thought I would celebrate my Dad's birthday by writing him some thank you notes.


Thank you, Dad...for your sense of humor.

I remember your silly jokes - usually silly knock-knock jokes.  Nothing off color. You would deliver the punch line and then chuckle at how funny you thought it was. You also had a sense of humor about yourself.  I think I got that from you.  And I remember lots of laughter.




And you always wanted to be a cowboy.





Thank you, Dad...for your musical talent.

You played trumpet in a dance band for most of your life, but you could also play almost any instrument and transcribed all of the music for the dance band you were in.  I had a brief stint in musical comedy so whatever musical talent I have came from you and has been passed on to my daughter.



Thank you, Dad...for being so smart and imaginative.

Whenever there was a problem or a need, you came up with a solution. You were an inventor of all kinds of things. Mom said you actually invented the "sippy cup" before it came out commercially. My sister was ready to drink out of a cup but needed something between the bottle and a cup and you invented a "sippy cup" for her. Mom always lamented your business sense, that you didn't patent it.


Thank you, Dad...for your positive attitude.

You were always a positive, upbeat influence which probably explains why I have always been drawn to positive people. Whenever we were sick or down, you knew just what to say, and people would come to you for advice. You delighted in all kinds of things from hats for my Mom, lamps for the house and your big passion, big American cars.  So many things delighted you and made you happy.  You would find out about something and exclaim, "Imagine that!"




Thank you, Dad...for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

If I made an offhand remark that I wanted a particular coat or if I admired something in a store window, I would probably get it as a gift at my next birthday or at Christmas.  You were really great that way and loved to surprise people.  When I would bring my children to visit, you would have baseball cards for my son or a doll for my daughter.  And you never let us leave without giving us "a couple of bucks."




Thank you, Dad...for being a great father.


  • You were not just generous with money and gifts, you were generous with your time, attention and encouragement. 
  • You were self sacrificing, so we could have a good life. Not to mention, you always let me have the car and would even walk to work if I promised my friends I could have the car.
  • You were sensitive to our needs and wants.
  • You helped to create a stable home.
  • You encouraged your children to be what they wanted to be, to do what they needed to do. When I moved out to California right after college graduation, you gave me "a couple of bucks" and wished me well.  You didn't question it or try to stop me, despite how hard it must have been to know how far away I would be (though later you expressed admiration that I had the courage to do it). 
  • You let me go to live my life and make my own mistakes.






and

Thank you, Dad...for your genes.

Because of you I am looking forward to a long life. 

Your Dad, who was born in 1874 (I can't believe my own grandfather was born in 1874) lived to be 98 and your mother 89, despite the fact she had diabetes all of her life and went blind in her 50's. My older sister and brother are still alive too (however, my Dad did not drink or smoke, so I might have screwed everything up with that).

And you live on, Dad, as those good genes are passed on from generation to generation. 

Here you are as a baby in 1908.


Here is your little grandson in 2014.


Over 100 years separate these two pictures and you died 22 years before this little grandson was born, yet you are still here.
You live on in the faces of those who came after you.

But you live on, too, as your gifts are passed on. You set an example for your children. Hopefully, we have your sense of humor, especially about ourselves, your talents, your smarts, your positive attitude, your thoughtfulness and generosity, your sensitivity and self sacrifice, that we too are good parents and pass it on.
  
As I think about my Dad, I can't help but think about myself as a parent now, knowing what I know. I certainly wish my Dad was still here so I could ask him some things. I wonder what he and my mother were thinking and feeling as their children went through all of the ups and downs of their lives. They were always there when I needed them but they let me live my life, warts and all.


As Bob Dylan said, "Take care of your memories.  For you cannot relive them."

I hope you will take some time to remember a loved one and where you came from.




Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday
when I will be reviewing

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
as well as some
DVD's to see or avoid

and the latest on


"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Makes a Great Father? A Baby Boomer Remembers Her Dad





My Dad's birthday was last Saturday, March 8th. 

Had he lived, he would have been 106. I am surprised he is not here, because he planned to live to be at least 100.  And he could have.  He didn't drink or smoke, was active, ate well...but he ascribed to a religion that believed in the power of prayer over medical help and he died too young at 83 of prostate cancer, something that was curable.

I spent last Saturday in quiet reflection about my Dad, his effect on my life and where I came from. 

I could never repay him for all he did for me, all he gave me, so I felt I owed him that much.  As I thought about him, I thought about what a wonderful Dad he had been and what traits he embodied - the traits that made him a great Dad.

My Dad was born in 1908, something that still blows my mind. 

Here I am in the 21st Century using a computer to write a blog that will go out to the world in a matter of seconds and my Dad was born when most people were still riding around in horse-drawn carriages (only 144 miles of roads in all of the U.S. were even paved), telephones were not yet common in the home and the average wage was 22 cents per hour. 

No wonder my parents didn't understand the Beatles or women burning their bras.



My Dad was an only child which was unusual for the times.  Likewise, his mother was a high school teacher and the major bread winner.  Also unusual. 

I think my Dad was a mama's boy, because family lore paints my grandfather as a stern disciplinarian who was not averse to capital punishment.  My Dad and his Mom would go to the movies together.  He loved movies and knew all of the actors and actresses.  I remember many late nights watching the old movies with my Dad and talking about the actors and him trying to hide his tears during the sad parts (he would laugh quietly and pretend to be wiping his forehead with his handkerchief, but I knew). 

So my love of movies certainly came from my Dad.


So what made him such a great Dad?


He was...


Supportive.
He supported his children in their interests and dreams. 

My sister was a tennis player so he played tennis with her until she outplayed him.  As she played her way into championships, he bought her the best tennis rackets and financed trips to tournaments.

My brother loved hot cars so they worked on cars together and my Dad bought him a 1955 Chevy with a pleated interior and raced the souped up family cars at the local drag racing venue.  And my Dad didn't even mind his drag racing on the street because my Dad did it too!

I wanted to be an actress and he never discouraged me.  He would even say I could start as a script girl and work my way up - his way of being supportive, though he obviously didn't really understand the film business, because that would never happen.  But I appreciated his interest.

And no matter what the ups and downs and disappointments he must have felt from his childrens' lives, he always found the positive.


Generous.
As I said, he supported our interests both emotionally and monetarily. 

And we were not rich, by any means.  This was the 50's and 60's when most women stayed home and the husband was the sole financial support.  That was the way it was in our home, and my Dad didn't make that much money.  He handed over his main check to my mother for the household expenses and then he would work two or three extra jobs to finance his own passions, which were cars, guns, music and his kids. 



Even though my family was of moderate income, my parents always bought the best of everything, believing that you get what you pay for.  But that doesn't mean we had everything. 

I remember many of my friends had all of the latest clothes and my inability to keep up with that probably started me on my road to "clothes horse-dom," but my Dad did understand that I wanted to look like the other kids.  He was a soft touch when it came to my saying, "But all of the other kids have that," to which he would reply, "Well, if that's the case..."  He also thought I should have enough clothes so that I never had to wear the same thing twice in a week (I probably now have enough clothes that I would never have to wear the same thing in a YEAR!  But I digress.)  He bought me my first pair of heels (in which I took a tumble at church much to my brother's delight) and started giving me money to buy my own clothes when I was 12, after my mother and I had a big fight over what bathing suit I should buy - she insisted upon my buying one that looked like a sailor suit!  My Dad understood that a girl had to "graduate" to big girl swim suits some time.

It's easy to think my Dad's generosity spoiled me, but there is also a saying that those who are cheap with money are cheap with love. He was generous with both.

He enjoyed surprising his family with gifts, but he was also generous with his time and himself.  When I was a teenager, I was the only one of my group who could get the car when it snowed (he thought I needed to learn how to drive in snow some time) and there were times when he actually let me use the car when he also needed it, because I had promised my friends.  He would walk. 

When he did things like that for me, it did not go unnoticed even if I was young and spoiled.


Thoughtful.
If I admired something I wanted in a store window, I would probably get that as my birthday present or even just a surprise a week later. 

I loved to eat fish.  He didn't, so we never had it in our house.  But every Friday, he would bring me the fish patty from the cafeteria at his work wrapped in a little napkin. 

And once when my Dad was driving my college roommate and me home for Thanksgiving, he stopped at a store to get me a scarf I had wanted and when he came back to the car, he had purchased the same scarf for my roommate as well. 

He also liked to buy my mother hats.

Remember when women wore hats?

Because my parents were 40 when I was born and I had my children late in life, my children didn't get to spend much time with their grandparents (they were 72 when my son was born).  But they looked after the kids one summer when Hubby and I went on a trip, and though my son may only remember that his Granddaddy got a bit impatient with him when he was trying to teach him to cut his meat, I hope he also remembers that he had some baseball cards for him when he arrived and went out of his way to entertain him, even though it had been years since little kids had been in the house.

He also went out of his way to make his own kids feel special.  When I was in a play, he would send me a telegram (remember those?) to wish me luck and he wrote me long letters when I was in college,  which always included a couple of bucks.



Humorous.



He loved to tell jokes. 

He was a bit of a prude, so no off color jokes, just your silly "knock knock" jokes and Henny Youngman type jokes ("Take my wife, please.")  He would play the piano and sing silly songs and read me the Sunday comics every Sunday. He always seemed to "get a kick out of things."

And every morning, when he came in to wake me up, he would say, "Rise and shine.  Save your confederate money, the South will rise again!"  I am not even sure what that meant because he surely wasn't from the South, but he thought it was hilarious and his enthusiasm was enough to get even someone like me (I hate morning) to get up.



Interested in a lot of things.
Some of my favorite memories are of my Dad sitting at the dining room table late at night working on his "lesson" for church, and I would come staggering in from a night of fun with friends, reeking of cigarette smoke ("Oh, no, Dad.  I don't smoke.  Mary smokes and it must have gotten on my clothes.") 

My parents didn't smoke and they were both teetotalers as well, so I must have literally lit up the place when I got home.  But when I got home, he would stop what he was doing and we would debate topics of the day, including religion.  He was always interested in my views on things even if they weren't his views. He was very curious about everything.  He would learn about something and share it and then say, "Imagine that!"

He also liked to collect guns and target shoot; he played trumpet in a dance band (his band played at my prom) and he could also play the piano, banjo, and harmonica and did all of the arrangements for his band; he collected American muscle cars (he had a 440 Charger, a Chrysler 300 and a Barracuda with a hemi engine),




he loved movies, television, swing band music, car racing, sports, taking pictures (tons of them) and always wanted to be a cowboy.


(Note the hat: Pharrell Williams had nothing on my Dad!)

Self Sacrificing.
My father believed that love was doing something for someone that you really didn't want to do, but you did it anyway and without recrimination or expecting anything in return. That was huge.  It's difficult to find people who will go out of their way these days.


I miss my Dad very much, especially now that I am in the last part of my life. 

With my children far-flung and my trying to navigate these murky waters of retirement, I wish I could ask him more questions and seek his comfort and counsel when things get tough

Though I am glad I told him what he meant to me while he was alive, I would love to share this with him now.

And he would have loved to have been a blogger. 

Later in his life, he spent much of his time writing, not just the book he was working on, but trying to save the world by writing to his legislators.


Here is a letter to then Governor Romney (yes, Mitt's dad). 


Looks like my Dad was thinking drivers should be able to make citizen's arrests!



When I look at my son, I can't help but see my Dad and I hope I was able to pass on some of what my Dad was to my son. 



1911                                                             1983
          
                                                  
                                                                                
                                                             


                 
              
And now that my son is also a father, I hope he will do likewise with this children and in so doing, my Dad still lives.

But I see that he does live on, don't you?


 
1908 



2014



And the Beat Goes On...


See you Friday for the


"Ten Greatest Musicals of All Time"
(and I hope for some debate) 


and The Week in Reviews
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