My Father’s Day

Repeat from last year. I hope you don’t mind too much!

I haven’t written about my dad here before, I don’t think, although I have written about my mother on many occasions, so I’ll tell you a little bit about us.

My daddy, Carl, was born in 1907, and grew up in the Jazz age and the Depression. Dad attended the University of Illinois, studying Mechanical Engineering, but didn’t graduate due to family difficulties. He was married before he met my mom, and had two sons during the 1930’s. For reasons unknown to me (or indeed anyone who is still living) he was completely estranged from his own family – his mother, father, and three brothers. I didn’t know about his previous marriage or my two older half brothers until I was in my teens, and even then it was just the bare fact told to me by mother. It was never discussed, especially not by him, and I didn’t meet any of his family other than one of his brothers until about ten years ago.

Dad and my mom met in the late 1930’s when both were working for the Hudson Motor Car Company in Detroit. Mom held various jobs in the factory (she was a widow with 2 children to support), and Dad worked in inspection. According to my mother:

Carl and I met at Hudson Motors, and we worked together for three years. We got acquainted and he asked around to see if I would go out with him. They said no, “She doesn’t go out with anyone.” But I lost a bet with some of the girls at work and I had to go out to lunch with him. After that we went out sometimes with a group and became friends.

In 1941 I was in the hospital after having my appendix out.  It CarlJessieZiegle1941ahad been a very serious condition.  Carl visited me in the hospital and asked me to marry him.  We were married on Christmas Eve that year.  Because of the war it was the only time we could get away from work.  I was 35 when I married Carl, and that is a good age.  He was a good husband, and we were very happy.


A few years later they were both surprised to learn that they were about to become parents, and a few months later yours truly was born into their world, a member of the post-war baby boom. Dad was 40 and mom was 41, and both had grown or nearly-grown children. I’m sure it was quite a shock. In a one-month period I was born, my sister graduated from high school, and my brother got married.

Daddy & his baby girl

I’m telling you all of this because it’s important to know that our dads – my dad for sure – are imperfect human beings who have made mistakes in their lives, who have lived as perfectly ordinary men, sometimes muddling through life, but doing their best, and learning from their mistakes.

My dad loved me, and I loved him. He taught me to be independent, to love math and reading and learning of every kind. He taught me to change a tire, took me to work with him, let me “help” when he fixed stuff around the house, let me tag along to the Army surplus store. I learned from him how to mow the lawn, weed the garden, feed the chickens, and paint a wall. Dad loved to take car trips, so I saw a lot of the United States and Canada while growing up; we took car trips to California, Florida and Washington DC, Niagara Falls and northern Michigan.

Dad taught me the importance of self reliance and working for a living. He taught me to save my money (I learned eventually) and how to establish credit. He even took me to restaurants as a young girl so that I would know which fork to use, and how to behave when I grew up and began my own social life.

My daddy showed me that a real man loves and cares for his wife and family, both materially and emotionally.  He was proud of me, and gave me self-confidence. Because of his belief in me, I knew that there was nothing that I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it. On the other hand, I also learned that no work was too menial or beneath me, especially if it was required in order to support myself.

I haven’t had my daddy for a long time. He died in October, 1976 after a long illness. I had made it to adulthood, and watched him love and teach my own daughter before he was gone. I’ll never forget him, and will always miss him and think of him on Father’s Day.

At the zoo, 1970


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34 Responses to My Father’s Day

  1. Stella, I love that first pic of you and your dad. So adorable!

    He doesn’t look very happy about the whole situation there, but you look very cute.

    I smile, bigly, whenever you post that pic.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Wooly Covfefe says:

      And that post itself, the whole text. It’s true for all of us who had a good dad.

      Several times early in life, you think, “Dad was a screwball, a f-up.” When we get older, and older that he was when he fathered us, you realize, no he wasn’t. He was perfect, and human, and amazing. Still is. I hope I have his wisdom some day. He’s been trying to give it to me for quite a while now.

      I always go back to Proverbs when I think about my dad.

      “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

      I thank my dad for making us write Proverbs as punishment. Grounding didn’t work. Spanking didn’t work. He certainly never beat us, like so many of my friends’ parents did them. My chef (his name is Carl, Stella, and is my best friend), was beaten weekly, and sometimes daily by his brothers and his dad. Our bartender was hanged by a belt, by his dad, for punishment, held off the ground.

      I had to write Proverbs chapters. Knowing all the people that I know, I can be nothing but absolutely thankful that I have the dad I do.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lucille says:

      Yes, that’s a fun photo. Glad you posted it again, Stella…and the reminiscences are wonderful.

      Liked by 4 people

    • stella says:

      He wasn’t happy, and he was right!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lucille says:

    My Dad loved to laugh and loved a good joke…though he could be terrible at telling them. He’d sometimes relate a long one and at the end, we wouldn’t know it was the end because there didn’t seem to be a punch line. I’m laughing hysterically right now at those memories.

    He was a tall, slim man, 6’2-1/2″ and 175 lbs, with black hair and bright blue eyes. Considerate, good natured, intelligent and knowledgeable, he had great taste in sports jackets, suits and ties (but he WOULD prefer Hush Puppies…LOL!), loved New Orleans jazz–but not the modern type, played the saxophone, sang bass in a church quartet, read voluminously, knew how to work on all his cars, and was always happy to do things for others. “Such a Christian gentleman,” my friend Sally would say.

    If neighbors or friends were changing residences, Dad would volunteer to transport items in his van. Or if another pal needed to be driven to a doctor’s appointment, he was available. Sunday mornings would see him and Mom picking up the elderly ladies and disabled folk and driving them to church, returning them home afterwards, or sometimes taking them out to lunch.

    Dad did have a bit of a temper on occasion, but wasn’t quick with it and didn’t hold grudges. Neither my sister nor I was ever slapped or yelled at. But if we sassed Mom, we would get a very serious talking to, ending with tears of regret from us and Dad having elicited promises we would treat our mother with respect.

    He worked late, usually arriving home after 11:30 PM. He’d check in on my sister first and then me to make sure all was well. Sis liked to stay up late doing her art or reading. He’d remind her to wrap it up. Me, I always went to bed listening to my favorite swing music radio program (this was before rock n’ roll). Dad would find me fast asleep and turn off the radio before he retired to a well-deserved rest himself.

    My sister married in 1963 and I left home that same year. Though Dad was a very respected man in his various jobs for the State of California hospital system, he left at 62 in 1967. He and Mom continued their yearly summering in Canada visiting my sister and the grandkids as they came along, doing so every year from 1964-1967 just for the month of July, and subsequently from June through August until 1986 when Dad’s health failed. He passed away in 1989. Not long afterwards Mom handed me Dad’s wallet, telling me to look in it. In the photo section, I discovered individual pictures of my sister and me, which Mom said he always carried and occasionally showed to those who inquired, saying, “These are my beautiful girls.” That’s the kind of sweet man my Dad was.

    Miss you, Dad! See you soon!

    Liked by 6 people

    • I’d like to shake his hand, too. Thanks, Lucille.


      • Lucille says:

        You’re welcome, Wooly! You would have liked Dad. Like you, he could converse on just about anything. But unlike you he knew little about cooking. His specialties were fried eggs and steak, but nothing else. If you don’t already know, he could’ve taught you all about cars and you could’ve shown him how to make a tasty omelette. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Menagerie says:

    Stella, the gifts your father gave you, in what he taught you and in how he helped mold you, are evident in your strength, your intelligence, and your attitude. How wonderful your parents were.

    I love getting glimpses of the people they were, and the lives they led. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I always wanted a Dad, never knew mine. From what I’ve been told, it was probably for the best, but I’ll never know. I envy you people so much!

    Liked by 3 people

    • stella says:

      My daughter didn’t see her dad from the time she was three until the day he died, when she was in her forties. I feel so sad about that, and I’m sorry for you too. You are correct that sometimes that is for the best, but it is still sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I really love reading about your Dad! My Daughter had a pretty good Dad, but he passed away last year. She has a sadness that I can’t do anything about but just be here for her. DH loves her very much, but they are like chalk and cheese. I just try to keep the peace, lol. I hope you have a great Father’s day!

        Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Jacqueline,

      My mom was adopted as an infant & raised by a childless Finnish (Upper Penninsula of Michigan) couple who also adopted my grandpa’s sister’s unwanted son. Almost 2 decades ago I was able to track down my mom’s birth family & we ended up meeting her half sisters on her dad’s side. (My mom was never interested in knowing anything about her birth family but after her mom died & her dad was significantly incapacitated with a stroke she “allowed” me to look–she hadn’t wanted to “dishonor” her parents by looking for birth family/info)…Anyway apparently my mom’s birth father had been an alcoholic & possibly an abuser who married 3 times & had three daughters by 3 different women. Those sisters told my mom she was better off not knowing her birth father, who had died several years before my search began. We’ve come to believe that the Lord preserved my mother’s life & character by having her raised in a godly & (relatively) loving home (they didn’t Say the word Love but demonstrated it in numerous ways). She was able to lead her youngest half sister back to the Lord & is still praying for the middle sister to accept Christ…& of course, had she been raised by her birth family she wouldn’t have grown up in Detroit nor met my dad nor had the many children & grandchildren that all follow the Lord!

      My husband was raised apart from his father (his parents divorced when he was quite young & his mom moved him across the country so he only saw his dad a time or two before he died when my husband was a teenager). His mom remarried a man who had abandoned his first wife & kids to have this new family. However, this step-father led my husband & his mother to the Lord–an imperfect man with feet of clay who knew Grace!

      My husband struggled many years with issues of fatherlessness & wounds & abandonment issues, lacking confidence, etc. My father, who is thankfully still living, really took my husband under his wing & loves him as if he were his own son & has ministered “fatherhood” to my husband in many ways.

      But even more so, Father God has been a faithful Father to my husband, speaking to him & guiding & directing his footsteps. In many ways now I actually have more “daddy issues” (even having godly parents with an intact 55+ year marriage) than my husband does…

      The point of all that is that God can redeem the time in your life & provide for All of your needs, according to His Riches in Glory in Christ Jesus. He can soothe the wounded soul, give you that peace that passes understanding, & demonstrate greatly how accepted & beloved you are in Him! He is the only Perfect Father any of us might know & his kind of Fatherhood doesn’t generate emotional/spiritual baggage in our lives!

      I just encourage you to run to Him, crawl in His Lap, & let him embrace, love, & heal you in all the areas of brokenness in your heart & life.

      Blessings in Christ

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful tribute!
    “Repeat from last year. I hope you don’t mind too much!”
    No, not at all, why should anyone mind that you repeat your thoughts on an important person like your dad. It’s your blog, write about anything, any day. I enjoyed reading as it also gives some good historical views on America, the famous car industry in Detroit. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      Welcome! And thank you for the nice comments. If you are interested in Detroit/WWII history, here is another post I wrote a while ago about “The Arsenal of Democracy” (the name of a very good book too!)

      My parents and other relatives worked in the industry all through the war, as their sons fought in the Pacific and in Europe. It was a remarkable time.

      Liked by 3 people

      • My dad was speaking about his dad’s Sunoco gas station, at Junction & Toledo in Detroit–Stoddard’s Superior Service–& grandpa’s experiences during the war. Apparently their was quite a rubber shortage as the government demanded rubber for the war effort. Because of this it was very difficult to get tires or even to repair them. Grandpa had a “vulcanizing” machine that you could rest the damaged part of a tire in & put some pellets of rubber? into & then have the machine melt things together to form a patch. Dad said some tires were actually more patch than tire. Grandpa had said that that machine kept Detroit running during the war.

        In the late 60s when my grandpa tried to sell his business & retire he couldn’t find a buyer (it was the “white flight” era) since he didn’t own the building but rented & it’s possible that there has never been another business there since…Anyway he tried to get what funds he could by selling off machinery but had no takers on the vulcanizing machine. He asked my dad to take care of disposing of it for he couldn’t bear to do it himself–& he was Not a sentimental man either. My dad got choked up talking about it based on his memories of his dad telling of the significance of what that machine did for Detroit. Too bad it didn’t get put into a museum instead of a scrap yard for its contribution to the war effort on the home front!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lucille says:

    Excellent article with a POV that ties it all together…

    The men that failed on 9/11 used their new powers to suppress the truth about Islamic terror.
    June 14, 2018 Daniel Greenfield

    Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      From a Facebook friend:

      This is my very first picture taken with my father. He is just 26 years old and I am 5 days old, his first child. He has just brought Mum and me home from hospital and he is fighting back tears and this is why…

      Pops was FBI, back when that brought looks of admiration from every direction. Deservedly so. But he also had a trained voice, was an accomplished pianist and tapped for the male vocal lead in every production in high school and college.
      His favorite? Hands down, CAROUSEL. He got the coveted part of Billy Bigelow at Heidelberg and could he sing the soliloquy!

      “My boy, Bill, will be…but, what if “he” is a “girl”…she’s got to be sheltered and fed and dressed in the best that money can buy, I never knew how to get money, but I’ll try!, I’ll try! I’ll try!”

      The words run together for me now (mind flooding with so many cherished memories and heart-pounding emotion!), I can only remember Pops reaching that ending crescendo, “or…die!” and bursting into tears at the desperate passion with which he nailed it. Pops could bring it, he could.

      Because he meant it.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. michellc says:

    I always laugh when I think about my mom’s twin brother and his wife who had a baby when he was in his mid-fifties and she found out she was pregnant on her 50th birthday. Both of their sons were already married and both already had kids, their oldest daughter was married and their youngest daughter was about to graduate high school. She thought she wasn’t having periods because she was going through the change. lol My uncle wasn’t too happy about it and complained about being too old to raise another child. When the baby would cry he would always say that at this point in his life he should be sending bawling babies home not losing sleep.

    My husband always taught my daughter how to do boy things. She gave him a shirt today that said, “Dad, Thanks for teaching me to be a man although I’m your daughter.” lol She was always more a Daddy’s helper than our boys were, she followed him around like a puppy, learning how to cut down trees, change breaks, change the oil in the car, fix plumbing, build fence and pens, you name it she was doing it when she was just a little girl. I always joked when my kids were growing up that I had 3 boys instead of a girl and 2 boys.

    Liked by 3 people

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