The Meaning of A Father’s Legacy

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This quotation is by the man who wrote intelligent books, some which are

still incomprehensible to me. Have you ever attempted to read the Italian

author’s book, “Focault’s Pendulum?”

The words in this quote mean everything to me:

“I believe what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd

moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little

scraps of wisdom.”

By the author of “The Name of the Rose,” Umberto Eco.

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UNINTENTIONAL LESSONS LEARNED FROM MY DAD

1. Just Go With It or “Winging It”

I used to get a little embarrassed at my Dad’s use of his intellect. I felt, for

sure, that others eyes were getting ‘glazed over’ and their minds were off

in another direction. My teenage self felt this way.

Sometimes, while I would take a walk with my Dad and the family dog, I

would hear him make observations on neighbors’ plants or yards, new

constructions or techniques they were using in decorating that he would

mention to the people in their yards. Sometimes, he would include a

rather esoteric or highbrow comment. I would kind of look away, thinking,

“How silly is that to say to him/her?”

It was not until my Dad passed away, years after I was a teenager, that I

had a neighbor from those days of his commenting, tell me with heartfelt

words, “I miss your father’s stopping by and his very articulate comments.

He was quite astute.”

2.  Be Yourself.

It was not until I was taking Elementary Education courses in Bowling Green

State University, that I heard in a classroom about what is more commonly

known as “Dyslexia.” I had some concept about “slow” learners, “busy”

children and “poor” readers. These were words used about my brothers

from teachers who felt I had been excelling in school. I always felt bad for

“the boys,” as my Mom called them. My parents used “individualized” ways

to label my creative brother who was very “busy” and my calm, serious

brother who seemed “slow” to teachers. They both turned out “brilliant”

and the labels teachers tried to place on them did not stop them, due to

parents who were positive reinforcers.

My Dad, it turned out, may have been ‘dyslexic.’ Here is an example of

his showing this quality. It was (again) a little embarrassing to me. While

in Girl Scouts, annually in late Winter we would have “Father-Daughter

Dances.” It would include a nice dinner and a square dance.

My Dad would head right, as the caller announced, “Allemande Left.”

Then, he would turn to the right, putting his hand out to swing the next

arm, when the square dance caller would announce, “Allemande Right.”

Everyone would be running into each other. I would look back and wonder

how this NASA engineer (sorry, but I did think this) “Could be so stupid.”

Then, when we would finally get straightened out, maybe due to his own

relief, he would pick me up and swing me in a big circle.

Oh, yes, you bet I get tears in my eyes now for this lovely memory!

Also, pity for those girls who did not have a father show up for this event.

3.  Be Romantic

My Dad would gather us up, three little ‘peas in a pod,’ to read to us each

night. We listened to tales of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, the

Three Robbers, and later, while maybe too ‘old’ to have stories, Sherlock

Holmes and Watson. He sure did like this bedtime ritual. Mom also liked

the relief, since we three were born in four years time, she has continued

to teach high school.. Lots of English, World Lit and Spanish papers daily

had to be graded.

My Mom would watch the time and then, come away from her table of

papers and say, “Bob, it’s time for the kids to go to bed.” He would stand

up and give her a big kiss on the mouth. I have so many friends who tell

me they never saw romantic kisses exchanged between parents.

Nor did they see their parents dance in the kitchen.

I cannot imagine this!

On Sunday mornings, Dad would be in the shower, then in the kitchen

making breakfast as Mom would get our clothes out and help to get us

ready for church. Having mentioned this before, but never hurts to repeat

this ritual. He was “in charge” of us, once we were dressed and ready.

I will never forget the morning I realized with a punch in the stomach

feeling, as my Mom walked down the steps in our North Olmsted house

in her ‘Sunday best’ – – a yellow dress, yellow hat and her white gloves.

There was a worshipful look in my Dad’s eyes, and his words echoed

these feelings as he exclaimed,

“THAT is the reason why I read the Sunday Comics to you every week!”

4.  Say You Are Sorry

Although my Dad loved the book, “Love Story,” and bought the complete

book after reading the ‘condensed one’ in Reader’s Digest Condensed

books, he did not like the quote on the poster for the movie when it came

out:

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

He was adamant about telling us when he lost his temper or ‘cool’ that

he should apologize to us. Separately, sincerely.

I know that he did not have a good father role model, sometimes we may

have thought he showed too much anger or frustration towards us, but

as a  parent later on, I could understand how stressful and serious Dad’s

work all day must have made his fuse shortened while at home.

I will never forget all the good things. I try to paint a wash of forgetfulness

over the bad moments when he stormed around over things like bikes

being left out in the rain, (he never had such luxuries) or flippant comments

we made that showed ‘disrespect.’

When we all went to see “Love Story,” my Dad openly wept. This was one

of our first times to see a sad movie together. He also wanted me to have

a pink felt hat and a white long coat, which may or may not have been the

direct result of watching this movie.

While he was dying of cancer, I laid next to him and asked him why did he

and Mom make their marriage “Look so easy?”

He said, “I learned to recognize my flaws and faults. I learned to express

my sorrow at hurtful words. I wanted to make it work. I think the men in your

life didn’t have a clue to the gem they had within their grasp. I did, in your

Mom.”

My Dad cried over war, prejudice and wanted to fight against these. The

two of them stood up for so many causes. They walked in the march for

equality together. He had known poverty and never let us forget that

others knew much worse than anything we would ever see or know.

5. Be Fruity or Nutty

On the road in a station wagon, Dad would make sure we had peanuts

and cashews. We also had fresh fruit, apples, tangerines and oranges.

There were either an empty potato chip can or a bag to throw shells and

skins into. Turns out the acid in the fruits helps to counteract the acids

in upset stomachs. Also, protein snacks satisfy appetites, along with

being healthy.

We learned that coffee, Coke or a little sugar would not hurt us.

We found out, sometimes the hard way, Try to stay quiet when there is

road work or slowed traffic jams come up.

Absolutely never joke about “Being Lost.”

A can of sweet snacks like Good and Plenty candies, butterscotch, rum

or cinnamon candies was a necessity for keeping his energy going. We

were parceled out some of this, but if the can seemed to be getting empty

we also knew to stop getting into it!

While we would go South towards my Grandparents Mattson trailer park,

we would hear Dad making up lyrics for country songs. They usually went

like this, “My wife has left me, my truck has a flat tire, my dog is dead and

I wanna go home.’ Dad was silly and would also play, “My Father Owns a

Grocery Store” (and in it he sells. . . ) then you would give initials for the

food or non-food item. To this day, when I am on a trip with my grandies

I mention this game and they ‘know’ my father although he never go to

see any of his great grandchildren. I make sure I tell them about how he

is up there in Heaven ‘rearranging the stars,’ too.

6. Meals and Food Are Not the End, But the Means

A bowl of lumpy mushroom soup or Cream of Wheat were not to be

complained about. We would get a lecture reminiscent of the kids who

were being raised during the Depression.

A can of sardines in the bottom of the stocking was better than a Lump

of Coal.

“Eat and Stop Complaining.”

This really resonated with me more (again) as a single parent.

7. Work Hard

We got sick about the story of how he had to hitch hike to Kentucky and

go over the bridge from Cincinnati, Ohio into Covington. If there were a

family ‘legend’ this is always going to be it. We included it in his Obit, too.

We never were given anything ‘big’ without a bargain being made. If it

were an expensive bike or instrument, we had to put in some ‘elbow

grease’ to ‘earn it.’ I feel this really helped me to not complain about my

up’s and down’s in Life. He taught us all determination.

The truck driver who took him to the top of the hill in Cincy, to show

him the crowded Urban scenery, who told him he could get out of what

the trucker called a “ghetto” and “become someone” gave him the drive

to succeed in school and get scholarships and enter the engineeering

5 year Co-op program at U. of Cincy. A Bearcat he was, in so many ways.

We were never given a car or money for any big items. We could work

for those, we were taught.

8. Volunteer and Give Back

My Dad loved church. He found his way there in college and never

stopped believing in the “Peace that Passeth All Understanding.” In Huron’s

Episcopal church, Reverend Brownlee asked for people to take time off

from their jobs to go to Washington to picket and march for freedom for all

people.

My parents took us to Aunt Amy and Uncle Orrin’s house for a week, while

they headed off to march. This was not the end of their giving. Mom took us

to Head Start and we piled all of our good puzzles, reader books, and some

toys like my kitchen set and their Tonka trucks to set up a ‘school’ in the

basement of a Sandusky Baptist Church. This was our daily morning

commitment for at least three summers. It was not until we went to the

Palmer family wedding that I realized how rare ‘white folks’ were at all

black weddings. This photo in my family photo album makes me smile

and remember. The money for two girls to go to nursing college and

stewardess school was also part of this period of time. There were others,

I am sure, we did not know of.

9. Love One Another

The three of us kids were told to quit fighting and stick together.

My Dad was an ‘only child.’ He emphasized how lucky we were. We did

feel happy being together.

“Solve some of your problems. Ask your brothers for help, when you can’t.”

We were never allowed to go to bed angry. This has been a recent change

in philosophy in counseling and I agree it should not be set in stone. The

current idea is, “Go to bed and sleep on it. It may not be as big a problem

as your tired self thinks.”

I felt that my brothers and I were taught to rely on each other. This became

evident when Mom would work with teenagers after school while we were

at a babysitter’s house. Looking out into the dark, of the Boos’ family picture

window let us feel a little sad. But, then we had each other. We were never

really ‘alone.’

When I have problems and need some faith to get me through, I call

or text my brother, Rich. He is the calm one, who teaches. He recently

(once again) told me in a text, “I hope it works out. I will pray for you.”

I love texts, you can keep them and re-read them, when in doubt.

When I have relationship questions and problems, I cannot tell you how

often I would call my brother, Randy. He would tell me the ‘guy’s side of

what was going on.’ This helped me a lot through the years. He also was

one who asked me for the ‘girl’s side of things.’

10. Be Faithful

This includes in your relationships, your commitments and your choices.

“Your word is your promise.”

“Look up.” This often was followed with, “How BIG is your GOD?”

Dad felt our God was inclusive of all faiths. He felt a strong belief that

God gave us brains so we would become able to understand the need for

science, medicine, psychology, mathematics, and education. He felt the

Seven Days (in the Bible) it took God to create Earth, may have been

representative of years passing. Seven periods of time, possibly.

The Creation was like a story or allegory, meant to include dinosaurs and

evolution. He was one who really believed in Space and possible aliens.

He definitely respected the downtrodden, Jewish people, Native Americans,

Africans, Asians, and any other persecuted peoples. His friends were

represented in our guests at our houses. I could also include a great family

of Italians from Strongsville who had a son I had a crush on. We attended

Bar Mitzvah’s and other diverse events. I did not know others did not have

this ‘rich’ of a life, until I went to college.

What you may take from this list is hopefully some ideas about what your

own Dad (or if you call him “Daddy” or “Father”) gave to you. I am sure

you may have another role model to share. If sadly your Dad was not all

that important in how you led your life. I hope you will share a story about

someone who “Made a Difference in your Life,” as Father’s Day is coming.

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

78 responses »

  1. Sounds like your dad could have been my dad’s twin! Except, I have only seen my father cry once when his mother died. No other time, ever. He has repressed showing that kind of emotion but is quite uninhibited about expressing anger, lol.

    My dad’s biggest contribution to my life is expecting me to be smart and proactive. He may have certain generational notions about females, but what was continuously communicated to me was: excel in everything and don’t sit around waiting for someone else to take care of something or take care of you, either.

    This is an interesting post, not only revealing a great deal about your wonderful father, Robin, but about you.

    It is not surprising that you are the lovely, kind, caring human being you are.

    • Beth, maybe what we discover about fathers of that generation is they have many commonalities. I have known some men who did not cry of our generation, too.
      As far as expectations, many of the children of the Depression era saw women helping out with the “War Effort” and encouraged their female members of their family to become whatever they wished to be. This was exciting to know that we could do anything!
      My Dad had one woman in his Engineering Co-Op program at U of C. This woman achieved her desires by heading off to Washington and working on the Super Sonic Jet. Looking back, he said she made a lot of money working for the industry instead of government. My Dad worked for NASA, always proud of his accomplishments in testing heat resistance on rocket parts. His team setting up a nuclear reactor in Sandusky, Ohio. (Plum Brook got ‘taken down’ after he had moved to Cleveland and it is used in Avenger’s scenes, especially when the Hulk is enclosed in one of the first movies in a room with glass surrounding it on all sides.)
      I did not think about what this would ‘reveal’ about me, Beth. This is an interesting thought. Thanks for your lovely comments and compliments.
      What I may have revealed from this post about myself, will be rumbling around in my brain and “percolating!”
      I sometimes am like my Dad but we both took after our teaching mothers… Smiles.

      • Wow, NASA! A rocket scientist for real! Things percolate in my brain like that too, Robin — especially when people have a new angle on something I have said. That is what makes blogging so educational and fun (most of the time). 😀

      • You know what song used to make me laugh a lot, Beth? Shania Twain’s song, “that don’t impress me much,” since it includes a rocket scientist:)
        Even though I only listen to country once in awhile, I remember her sassy style and then, when her idiot husband left her for her best friend I read her story. Glad she found love in her best friend’s husband. The best revenge!

    • This may explain some things and others, not so much. I like how you teach your children/kinders how to ‘do things’ which in many ways, is how our fathers approached life, Beth. My Mom was a reader, thinker and talker, but give my Dad a task and he was happy as a clam!

    • You know it is nice that your Dad and your husband have each other. Is your husband’s Dad still around, too, Chery? It is coming up in more than a week, but I found that quote and had to do an early post….Smiles for you and happy mid-week approaching.

      • Oh yes both set of parents are well and happy and a big part of our lives! You know for some reason Robin, I thought you were a widow? Thus, dating after fifty?! Thus witless dating etc…Hee Hee to silly me! Hugs and smiles to you!

      • No problem, Cheryl! Hugs to you my dear!
        I am a witless woman who has been married three times, Cheryl. Even a Christian who I met at church. . . My first one I met when I was 18 and we have two children. My second husband gave up his rights to his baby girl but is now in her life as a 29 year old. I have a lot of fun and am grateful for my children and friends, along the way in life. Family, two brothers and a Mom are left up in Cleveland. A special sister in law, my ‘only’ sister. 🙂

  2. Wow, he sounds like a great man and I’m sorry you lost him so early on. My father left my family when we were quite young and, though my mother was a great role model, after reading this, I feel like a relationship between a girl and her father is much different than that between her and her mother, even though I never felt as if I was lacking. Oh well, thanks for the insight. You were very lucky to have had him.

    • Marissa, this may not have been the direction I would wish you to think. Your mother was extra special for being there for you and your siblings. She had to take on more than some mothers did, I am sure. I feel bad about your losing your Dad very early in your life. Has anyone told you stories about how he was in school or what games or toys he played with? Sometimes, stories from family members help fill in the gaps. I wonder if you have him looking over your shoulder and so proud of who you are, Marissa.
      I appreciate your saying he was a great man. Thank you for thinking his good qualities outweighed his ‘bad.’ There were some impatient times, ones where expectations were set high. I did find a great sense of peace when my Dad and Mom retired at age 55 or so. They went on journeys across the country and took my kids with them ‘camping’ in their Transvan at Good Sam camps. He would take a lot of water toys out and set up games in the yard of their lakeside cottage. They had downsized into a small two bedroom place. I liked going out in a rowboat far into Lake Erie, drifting along listening to Dad while a kid. Then, as a single Mom, listening again to ideas on motivating my kids. He was an even better Grandpa, as most of us are much more patient after we get through the raising kids stage. You are in the midst of this, so you will be happy to know, there is a Light at the end of the tunnel, my dear!

      • Thank you for this! I’m sorry if I gave the wrong impression though…my father actually abandoned our family, kind of gradually, starting when I was just a baby and now I haven’t seen or heard from him since i was 15, but know I am better off without him. It is just, I think I unique relationship that girls have with their fathers with you so clearly depicted and further so in your comment here, thank you. However, I was fortunate enough to have an uncle and grandfather I was close with and many of the things you write here, in your comment, reminds me of the relationship I had with them, which is a good feeling!

      • So glad we found the happy place where you have memories of a special uncle and grandfather. I wonder, let me know, do you wish me to edit these comments, Marissa? I have done this before when someone may have not wished so much to be said, private things…. You are very sweet to share this, it may be of comfort to some who did not have a good relationship with their own father. . .

  3. My father had grown up with nothing. He knew poverty and he knew not to be caught in the credit wheel. He had no mortgage nor credit cards… If he couldn’t afford it he didn’t have it…

    • I love this personal part of your father’s outlook on money matters. This is an excellent way to live, owing nothing and also taking care of his business in a ‘no nonsense’ way. So smart!

  4. Each of those is an important rule for life, and it sounds like you had a wonderful upbringing, Robin! Those all resonated with me, since my parents also passed them on to us.

    • Smitty! Hi there, my friend. I am glad you remember some of these qualities that your parents passed on to you and your sister.
      I was mentioning to Beth, maybe this is not unusual to have had some of these ‘lessons’ imparted to us. Possibly this generation of our parents, having gone through the Depression and some of the WWII experiences, gave many of the parents similar goals, too. They all learned some of the same work ethic, don’t you think? Also, new job possibilities were opening up, in many people’s lives. Women worked to help the “war effort” and continued to work after the war, sometimes.
      We were blessed with giving parents who did have expectations and helped us to become who we are today. Other influences may have had impacts on us, but having that solid childhood really helped. I need to get over and see how your team is doing! 🙂

      • I agree, I think these lessons were not uncommon from parents of that era. The “American Dream” (that children would always do better than their parents if they made the effort) was still very much alive. You and I may come from the last, or nearly last, generation for which that was true.

      • I am so glad you put this ‘label’ on what I was describing, Smitty. You are great at knowing what words I need to add or make the piece or post more relevant. This was my grandparents’ hope and my parents’ hope. I do wish my children would be able to accomplish more, as they grow older and the two who are parents may still reach their dreams. My youngest is valiantly starting a business which will fulfill her dream for good health, for sharing healthy choices and hoping to make money while doing so. She will employ me, she says, when she can give me what the warehouse does in wages, sick time and vacation. I have been there only 6 years but earned 120 hours of vacation. I am so excited to be going on my first one, June 26- July 5th. And pssst, I may not blog! Horrors! It is sometimes a relief, I am not as rigid in my posting lately…

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your father. I love how your perceptions of him has widened with age and with time. What we know now that we didn’t know then can affect everything. Your love for him and his for you are written all over this post.

    • Diahann, this is such a really nice set of responses to this post. I appreciate how you see our childhood thoughts and perceptions expanding as we grow older to understand more of what was going on. Do you see anything your father or mother did, in a newer, different ‘light?’ I was lucky to have had him, I realize that. Thanks for these lovely thoughts.

  6. What an awesome tribute to your father. The older I have become, the more I have appreciated what incredible parents I had. My mom passed away at the age of 60 (now I’m there) and my dad is still alive physically (dementia and physically healthy , but doesn’t know any of us….but he is happy and just celebrated his 90th yesterday). Thanks for sharing!!

    • Kirt, I will be joining you in November, when I turn 60. You look younger than this age. I am sorry you lost your mother, at what I consider an early age. I felt a huge loss when Dad died at age 69. I appreciate your sharing about your father, too. I wish he were able to remember, but I see my Mom’s mind slipping each time I go to visit. She is going to be 87, so by 90 will definitely not be able to recognize us, if she keeps going. May I be so blessed to just have her around, any way I can.
      I feel you show us wonderful qualities in your creative and sensitive soul. I bet your children and family are blessed with you as a member of their lives, Kirt. Happy (early) Father’s Day.

      • Thank you for the compliment, but it is I who feels blessed with three wonderful daughters and an incredible wife!! My best to you!! (And again…thank you!!)

      • I am so glad you reminded me you have three daughters, Kirt and of course, your wife. I did not wish you to think I did not remember but details are important, as you know well, to be repeated to be remembered. I am so glad you are blessed as well. I feel blessed with my family with three children and six grandies. My son’s family is larger since he married his sweetheart who had been raising two as a single mother. They make me proud to see their love. It will be this way, when your girls get married. Like you set a great example and they were able to replicate it, Kirt.

    • Jay, this is profound. Did you realize this? I do feel like I ‘know him still.’ Wow! Thanks for this perspective and hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

  7. Oh, Robin! What a beautiful post! My Grinch-y heart continues to grown today! I was thinking this weekend what I learned from my Daddie this weekend…well from all the men in my life, actually…Grandaddy, my brother, the former husband. Specifically the “not-girlie” things I know how to do because these men taught me how. A post of my own is a-brewin’ and you inspired it! Thank you! Hugs to you! Robynbird ❤

    • I am so honored to know I was an inspiration and helped to start you soaring on your way with a wonderful post about how the men in your life have had a great impact on your life, Robynbird. You make me smile broadly and would giggle with delight, but am at the library. You may have some ‘Grinch’ in you, but I am so glad to know you have a heart, inside that chest, beating away. I will be excited to see what you write, my friend.

  8. What a blessing to know him, Robin. And how awesome, that you’ve come to appreciate him. Thanks for the inspiration. Father’s Day is coming and it’s time to do a tribute for my parents. They’ll appreciate it. I don’t take time, often enough, to say “Thank you for all you did right.”

    • Tracy, you are a true gift of your parents. Your posts are genuinely inspirational and I feel bad, when they are not often in my reader, I will ‘forget’ to check on them. Then, I scurry and hurry to read and catch up with as much as I can!
      I love the idea of your writing a post for both your parents. Sounds like they were wonderful team players. You are so right, never often enough do we remember to thank them! I was so happy my parents said, “Love you!” as they left the house and often, when seeing each other or us, they would hug us. Always happy to remember those signs of love given.

  9. How lucky you were to have a father like that! This is a very engaging and thoughtfully done post. I enjoyed reading it and almost feel like I know the kind of person your father was. A treasure.

    • Anneli, thanks for the sweet words about my Dad and about how I wrote my post. I wanted it to be less serious, more fun. I am happy you found it ‘engaging’ which means it was at least a little entertaining. Ha ha!
      I was lucky, since his Dad was a broken vet in a Veteran’s Hospital, Dad ‘chose to reinvent’ fatherhood. I wish he had not been so stressed but his retiring at age 55 made him so happy, just fun as heck to be around. My kids were blessed with the best grandpa around. Smiles!

  10. Robin, I am so incredibly happy that your father existed. I don’t know how to elaborate on that. Just knowing this man was here, and what his impact was….makes me truly happy.

  11. Well written. I can’t begin my response to this, because I keep erasing it. My dad was similar, complicated, damaged. The best and the worst of a person rolled into one. Hard for a sensitive child like me to make sense of. Until the day he died. Though I continue gaining perspective as I get older. Aloha, Robin ❤

    • I am going to start with your last comment, Bela. We learn more, as time goes by, about what impacts our parents had upon our lives. I am sorry that your Dad was complicated and damaged. I am sure he tried his best, which really counts for a lot. I cannot imagine your being sensitive and feeling sometimes hurt or frightened of the fierce father. I was a little bit afraid or better word, “intimidated” by my Dad at times. Imagine me, getting a “C” in Algebra Trigonometry and then another “C-” in Astronomy. Oh my goodness! My Mom had to intervene to tell him I had all A’s in other subjects! Smiles and hugs to you my sweet Bela.

  12. Beautifully written, Robin! It strikes that cord within me that I wish my dad were around all these years he’s missed and all the things we never got to do together. When he died–unexpectedly a few months before he would have been 50–my own life took a turn I’m not sure I’ve ever fully understood. Even though I appreciate the good fortune I have had to live so much longer than he did (I’ll be 65 this Thursday), I still quite often wonder what these “senior years” would have been like as he and I could have shared so much. Alas, things that were never meant to be aren’t worth dwelling on for any length of time. Again, thanks for a very nice post. 🙂

    • Mark, thank you for your personal insights and experiences shared here. I am saddened at your early loss of a father. You are so right, losing him before he grew old, meant you did not get to ponder, ruminate and spend time together in the later years.
      Tomorrow is Wednesday, but I am afraid I may miss your birthday on Thursday, since my grandson has a baseball game so here goes a lot of cheering and yelling!!
      “Happy Birthday, dear Mark! Happy #65 and keep on going, my friend!!” 🙂 🙂

  13. As read your lovely post about your Dad, I couldn’t help but see some similarities between it and a book I’m reading called, “My Grandfather’s Blessings”, by Rachel Naomi Remen. If you haven’t read any of her works, I seriously think you’d enjoy her…..

    • Oh, thank you for this great book suggestion! I have always told my 3 kids about my Dad so they would not lean on “excuses” why they could not do something. Their grandpa accomplished a lot, no support from a sick, facility institutionalized father who was broken from WWII. Still becoming a rocket scientist:) They saw him as the fun grandpa as a child.

  14. Reading this wonderful tribute I was thinking of my Dad: I was a “Daddy’s girl”. Truly, a father’s legacy means more than anything else. Thank you for sharing!

    • We have another thing in common. 🙂 I remember your saying on my About page, you are over 50 and dating. Now, we both were blessed with dad’s who loved us. I try not to admit I was a “daddy’s girl,” since one ex of mine blamed my Dad for his not living up to my expectations. I am glad you shared this.

  15. My father was a bit aloof as far as expressing his feelings. However, we did connect when I grew old enough to be first, a hiking and backpacking partner, and later, a climbing partner. His gift to me was one I was able to pass along to my own children – a deep appreciation for nature in its variety and ever-changing appearance. He also passed along an oddball sense of humor with a high regard for a good practical joke every now and then.

    You know how lucky you are to have had such a wonderful father, and that is a great tribute to the man who helped guide you on the path to becoming the amazing woman I know you are. – Mike

    • Thank you, Mike, for sharing personal memories of your father. Sometimes little kids can be overwhelming to fathers. Hence, his seeming aloof. So glad he came through, really during time boys need attention: during teen years.
      I am going to tell you right now; you exceeded the Dad of your early years! I know you were engaged in your daughters’ lives and passed on your love of learning, technical information and as you mentioned things you learned from your father about nature and hiking

      You also led young men in learning how to participate in climbing, hiking and camping. Motivating and giving them a good role model. Your story about how a storm came while your group of young hikers were up on a mountain is so inspiring, Mike. (And memorable!)

  16. What a great foundation your dad gave your family for this life we live, Robin. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. Maybe some of his goodwill and good ways will filter out into our lives somehow, some way. We should all be so blessed. Great post, my dear friend. ❤

    • You are an even better dad than mine was, Mark! I could not imagine anyone cheering on his daughter (Elisabeth) throughout her years more.
      I just know you taught her how to write, garden, ride a bike, drive a car, the list is endless. Now that you meet and you told us your little secret father-daughter love code/ritual we know how proud you (and Karen) are of her. I wish you had a dad story to share. Maybe you sill pn your blog. You made a choice to an awesome dad! Be all that you can be. That is you, my friend. And more, special things I cannot even guess at.:)

  17. That’s a lovely tribute to your father Robin. My own Dad always made us feel as if we could do anything, would support us to the hilt but could also be crushingly embarrassing as we became sensitive teenagers. I remember once him picking my friend and me up from a party and instead of waiting outside for five minutes, he knocked the door, came in and joined in with the dancing. Whether this was spontaneous or an evil plot to ensure I never kept him waiting again we never truly got to the bottom of but have laughed about it since. Everyone else at that party thought he was really cool, incidentally. I could’ve died.

    • I really like this story about your dad, Jenny. You may be onto something in his decision to join on on the dancing. I also am so happy he was so supportive and behind you all the way. I like this unique expression; don’t hear it too often either. “To the hilt.” Reminds me of sword fighting. 🙂

  18. I am happy to read this special post on relations of a daughter with her father and brother. I don’t have a brother. We are three sisters and always longed for brother’s affection and protection. You are very fortunate to have a brother like Rich.My father has brought up three of us like his son, made us independent, confident ladies.I am proud of him. Very well written post. Love, Rashmi

    • Rashmi, so wonderful to be treasured and made into strong, creative young women. I have two brothers, sometimes I define them as Randy the artist and Rich the teacher. The 3 of us were born in 4 years so very close.
      Now, I was always wishing to have a sister. Isn’t it funny? I had to play with brothers, climb trees, run fast and they learned to play “house” as my helpful neighbor or my friend’s husband. We always ask each other for advice. Thank you for sharing about your family life. Instead of brothers, you had two wonderful sons and devoted husband. Xo

  19. I love the lessons you learned from your dad. I was my dad’s shadow which is probably why I am so persistent in everything I try to accomplish. He was that way.

    • I am so happy you were close to your father, April. 🙂 This sometimes is not the usual occurrence, which makes me sad. I love the picture in my head of a sweet little blonde girl being her Daddys shadow, April. Am I right, we’re you a “towhead” while growing up?

      • Strawberry Blonde. Actually, my dad always said that in the sunshine my hair looked like a shiny copper penny. I hated it until I grew up….then it started to darken as I matured…now it is streaked with gray. 🙂

  20. I particularly like the advice you picked up from his actions without his having to explicitly say things. I mix right and left all the time. I was once giving directions to someone, saying left and pointing right. My daughter was explaining the corrections as we went along. Be faithful is so important.

    • Thank you for reading this rather long testimony of my father. Glad you could relate:)
      I agree being faithful to your spouse and family are important qualities and examples for children to look up to. Dan.

      • Most of what I learned from my father was by the daily examples of how he lived. This was a very nice tribute to a wonderful man.

    • Those were awesome lessons! I never learned those kind of lessons but did get some lessons in drawing and painting from my Dad. He was smart in math and science but I was not very good at those subjects. Mom would have to intervene when Dad did get impatient. I really think there are some wh I can spell and read early; some who just “get” math. Thanks for sharing these and so glad I got into my pending approval area. Not sure why wordpress accounts don’t just automatically get accepted?

      • I’m finding some accounts get held back as well. I think it’s something in the settings. Or just those pesky gnomes messing about.

    • Thank you for such a positive response to this post thinking about my dear old Dad. He has been gone 14 years but we tend to carry our family members around with us. . . Take care and hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day, Alex.

      • He would love your post. My father is very understated so doesn’t like gifts, but he really likes cards so we go all out every year.

  21. Your father’s legacy is rich as evidenced in the posts you share about your life. I think this quote applies here: It’s only when you grow up and step back from him–or leave him for your own home–it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. – Margaret Truman –

    • Thank you very much, Timi, for such a special message. We do tend to realize the challenges as an adult which colors the way we reflect back. I love this quote 🙂

  22. Robin — This is a beautiful tribute to your father. He sounds like a wonderful man and I love the stories of how he read to his children and how much he loved his wife. Those examples … along with the others … shows what a strong, compassionate, loving character he was.

    That quote from Umberto Eco is spot on. I used it for my Father’s Day story as well. I haven’t read any of Eco’s books. From your description, they may be over my head. 😉

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