My Father’s Day

This is a repeat, but a good one, as I remember and honor my dad. I feel grateful that he was the man who raised me and helped to make me the person I am today.

Here’s 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.

Carl and Jessie

In 1941 I was in the hospital after having my appendix out.  It had 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 that year (a few short months in fact) my brother got married, I was born, and my sister graduated from high school.

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 “nice” 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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3 Responses to My Father’s Day

  1. Lucille says:

    Thanks for re-posting the touching remembrances about your father, Stella. So many of us are fortunate to have had kind and loving fathers. Such men are blessings from God.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. auscitizenmom says:

    I was definitely a Daddy’s Girl. I evidently didn’t know who “that man” was when I was a baby. Mom said I ignored him. He was in the Navy and out to sea a lot back then. But, one time when I was about 18 mo. old, I dumped her drawer of buttons on the floor and she couldn’t make me pick them up. When he came home she said he spanked me (Mom tended to exaggerate) and made me pick them up (my parents were very strict). After that, I always ran to him yelling “Daddy”. Mom said he had to introduce himself to me.

    My son’s father didn’t know much about fathering. But, my father was around until he was 18. And, he taught my son so much and was a good example for him. Now he has three daughters of his own and I think he is an amazing dad.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gary says:

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story Stella. I cannot write as well so I’ll just say this. My father was a very unique man, he truly was a hero long before I was ever born and I had no idea until my late teens. By then I had caused him so much grief I would spend the rest of his life trying to catch back up. Mine was the last voice he heard in this world.

    A father teaches you to be a gentlemen.
    A U.S. Marine teaches you to be a man.
    A child teaches you that none of it was ever about you, it was about preparing you for what’s in your arms.

    Liked by 1 person

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