He would be 97 years old today. My father. He was a good dad to me. I say ‘to me’ because each of us experiences a parent differently. I’ve learned this as I’ve gotten older, both from the view of the child and the view of the parent.
As the fourth kid and the second daughter to be raised under his roof, I benefitted from the correction of some of the rookie parenting mistakes. Some of the intense expectation and correction were just not there, and, let’s face it, at least one of my siblings was drawing some of the attention away from my pain in the ass self. By the time I came along, those big problems were seen in a better and broader perspective.
So, my Dad was a good dad to me. But perhaps more than that, I believe he was a good man. When he died and we returned to New Hampshire, where he had been for all of his childhood and most of his adult life, we had the traditional viewing and service at the funeral home. We had a three and a half year old and an almost one year old keeping us busy, so engaging with visitors was a bit of a challenge. During one brief conversation, a very well put together woman, a woman my Dad’s age, took my arm to tell me she had been a high school friend of his. What she said was, “I knew your Dad when we were just teenagers, and he was such a swell guy!”
A swell guy. In the end, what better tribute could there be? Son, dad, brother, husband, uncle, sailor, attorney, sailor, veteran and friend. I think of all of these, my favorite describes them all. Happy 97th, Dad!