Archive for the ‘fatherhood’ category

A Father’s Day Story

June 18, 2017

buddyWhen my Dad got out of the service, we moved to small apartment on the Boulevard in New Haven, Connecticut.   As I recall, it was a refurbished Army barracks.  My mom told me that when the wind blew, you could feel it through the walls.  I am fortunate to have some pictures of our years there but my memories of the Boulevard are sparse and dimly lighted.   I do remember them as good times.   There were tons of kids to play with, my parents had lots of friends (many of whom they kept touch with through most of their lives) and there was lots of space to play baseball or tag on the apartment grounds, even if it was mostly dirt.   What more could a kid ask for?


For Dad

June 16, 2013



June 17, 2012

Many years ago, my father had a small brain tumor near his temple which was discovered when he had a seizure in his living room, kicking over the coffee table and scaring my mother half to death.      The day before the surgery to remove it, I spent several hours sitting by his bedside, talking with him about life.    Talking about life was not a common occurrence with Dad but the outcome of the surgery was uncertain, so we were visiting the unexplored territory of my childhood through his eyes.    He was telling me how impatient he was with me when I was little and that he didn’t know how I survived some of the things he said to me.   Truthfully, I didn’t remember the events he was describing and I distinctly remember telling him, I have no complaints about your parenting.  And it was true because I always knew he loved me. (more…)

The Right Dad

June 19, 2011

Our local all-sports station, KSPN, has been having a contest this week.  You call in and leave a message telling why your father is the Best Dad and if yours is chosen, your father gets an all-expense paid trip to the ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, CT.   Every father’s dream, right?  On KSPN’s Saturday morning Weekend Warrior Show, Dave Miller invited every caller to conclude their call by telling why their father is the Best Dad.  Of course, it’s Father’s Day  weekend.  It seems to me that while writing an essay on Why My Daddy is the Best Daddy is a reasonable exercise in grade school, Best Daddy contests for adults seem a bit sophomoric.  Then again, if I pick up a rock at random in my back yard, chances are it will be more self-aware than your average sports-talk host. (more…)

Pay It Forward

November 13, 2010

When I was a senior in college, I depended on borrowing my father’s car to see my future-wife-to-be, Muri, during school vacations.   As I said in The Negotiator, dating my wife before I had my own transportation … especially for the 30 mile drive all the way to Bridgeport, CT, where my wife lived … required that I convince Dad to let me borrow the car, in spite of the fact that we both knew he’d give in eventually.   Like most men, Dad loved his cars, including the champagne Pontiac Catalina he had during my senior year (Isn’t it weird to think that Pontiac doesn’t exist any more?).   Although Muri and I had not reached the point where we were sure we’d end up married, we were seriously dating … sometimes it would be three or four in the morning before I headed home. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 7/12/2010

July 12, 2010

There will be no Monday Smiles this week in honor of my Dad’s funeral.   Although we lived 3000 miles from my Dad’s home and my children only saw him occasionally, Dad had a special place in both of their hearts so it’s particularly appropriate that I post this portrait of my Dad done by my son from a photo taken at my daughter’s wedding.

We’ll be back to Smiles next Monday.

Know Them …

July 7, 2010

Since we visited my Dad back in May, his health has slowly declined.   In part, it declined because he stopped eating and drinking, which numerous friends have told me is a common behavior when someone no longer has the will to live.   After ninety-two years with Dad in my life, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, it was hard to accept that he didn’t have one more comeback in him.   Last Friday, hospice was called in and after their evaluation, I spoke to the nurse via phone.   You realize your father is dying, don’t you? she said, It’s just a matter of when.   It  was hard to hear but it was what I needed to accept it … and begin preparing myself.   Today, he passed away.

As I said in Monday Smiles – 7/5/2010, I have spent the last few days working on his eulogy … and knowing me, it will not be complete until the moment I begin to read it.   It is a labor of love.  It has kept me sane over a period that can only be described as a death watch.  It has shown me that my father’s life was greater in its totality than I ever knew and made me aware more than ever how much he made me the man I am.   There are no self-made men and each of us starts with our fathers.   Mine was a good start with a good finish.   My only regret is that I didn’t finish this picture of his life before he passed.

The lesson I’d offer is think about each of the people you love and take time to Know Them.  Each of them is much, much more than their daily actions, their victories and defeats, their strengths and peccadilloes.  Think about their lives as a whole and how they’ve have affected others.   Think of the lessons they’ve learned and the lessons they’ve taught.   And once you know who they are, Tell Them.  In an article on eulogies, Wikipedia says that Eulogies can also praise a living person or people who are still alive, which normally takes place on special occasions like birthdays.   Wouldn’t it be great if our eulogies were birthday presents instead of memorials?

Father’s Day

June 20, 2010

So, it’s Father’s Day.   The truth of the matter is, it hasn’t been one of my favorite holidays.   In my sixties, I’ve gained some perspective on my own fatherhood, but for at least a decade before that I regarded my performance as a father as suspect.    Having teenagers was somewhat of a puzzlement to me … and in many ways, I feel like I’ve only learned the life-lessons that I needed then in the last fifteen years.    Knowing I get an A for effort is part of my perspective as is knowing that while I may not have been the best father to teenagers, I am an excellent father to my grown children.   And they are indeed always our kids, needing help or guidance along the way. (more…)

Fatherhood – Leaving a Legacy

February 6, 2010

Four years ago, I was with my wife, daughter and grandson, Reed, in  Oak Glen, California which has been known to us as Apple Country since our children were small.   Like any location that caters to tourists, Oak Glen has plenty of tchotchke stores.    You don’t know what that is?    According to, tchotchke is an Americanism based on the Yiddish word, tshatshke, meaning an inexpensive souvenir, trinket, or ornament.   Anyway, on a small rotating bookshelf in one of the tchotchke stores I found a book called A Father’s Legacy – Your Life Story in Your Own Words.   I opened it and read a few pages … each page featured a question or topic about a father’s childhood with space for answers to be written and passed on to his children.   Inspired by the joy of a three-generations afternoon, I bought it with the intent of gradually filling its pages with the details of my life to be passed on to my children. (more…)

Fatherhood – Raising a Daughter

January 29, 2010

My wife and I were very fortunate – because we adopted our two children we were able to choose their sex.    For the first, we said, We’ll take whatever comes, and when we brought home our son, we specified female on the second adoption application that we started almost immediately.    Five years later a beautiful little eight-week old girl entered our lives.   Influenced heavily by the feminist notions of the sixties, I thought that most of the differences between boys and girls were taught, a myth my daughter quickly dispelled.   I learned that little boys are just little boys but little girls are little women.    My heart hasn’t been the same since. (more…)