By Sherry, enjoying a quiet Father’s Day
As well as I know the Wickeds, I don’t know that much about their Dads. So I asked them a few questions to get a bit of insight.
Where was your dad born? New Rochelle, New York
Did he stay there? Except for college and the army, he stayed in the greater New York City area until I was ten and he was thirty-four. Then we moved to the Philadelphia suburbs and then on to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
What was his life’s work? He was a banker. He came up through the investment side of banking and eventually was CEO of something that doesn’t exist anymore–a medium-sized regional bank.
Was he a reader? If so what did he read?
Such a reader. As he got older and had the ability to buy himself most things he wanted, his Christmas pile turned almost entirely to books. His first loves were history and biography, but he also loved fiction, particularly Trollope.
What was his best attribute?
My dad had an incredibly sharp, fast mind and the verbal skills to match.
Share a happy childhood memory.
I remember my dad refusing to go see The Sound of Music, because he “hated nuns and children.” This was, of course, a complete pose, same as the reason the grandchildren called him “Grump.” My mother always said my dad was never as happy as when his kids, their spouses, and his grandchildren were around, and that was 100% true.
Where was your dad born? Lawrence, MA
Did he stay there? He stayed in the area, aside from a stint in Nigeria with the Peace Corps after college.
What was his life’s work? Math teacher! Where the heck did I come from? I can barely add…
Was he a reader? If so what did he read? He was. He read the newspaper every day, and he read a lot of non-fiction and biographies.
What was his best attribute? His calm demeanor.
Share a happy childhood memory. We used to ride bikes together before our street was fully developed, when there were only three houses – ours and two others. We’d pretend we were the C.H.I.P.S. patrol guys….I’ll always remember those bike rides.
Where was your dad born? Allan Maxwell (Jr.) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1923, the eldest of three.
Did he stay there? He moved with his family to southern California when he was nine, after my grandfather had a heart attack in his thirties and his doctor recommended moving to a warmer climate. Daddy prowled the sand at Laguna Beach with a cigar box, pretending he was broadcasting a local news show.
What was his life’s work? He was a high school teacher of social studies, geography, and emerging nations (and in the sixties, a lot of new nations were emerging). He listened to the BBC, setting a timer so he could record it on his reel-to-reel tape recorder overnight, to keep up with international news. He brought home older pull-down world maps so he and my mom could create a play schoolroom for us in the back patio (a covered and paved outdoor space behind the garage).
Was he a reader? You bet he was. If so, what did he read? Two newspapers a day, plus histories and biographies (my mother was the mystery reader). We had a houseful of books – many walls lined with bookshelves, four different encyclopedias, you name it.
What was his best attribute? Do I have to pick ONE? This introverted, intellectual man possessed a gift for unconditional love. He always had a big smile for me and my siblings, but when we needed discipline (and I needed more than my big sisters), he delivered a serious sit-down talk that had a huge impact — and still left me feeling loved.
Share a happy childhood memory. He taught me (a girl of the fifties and sixties, mind you), one-on-one, just him and me, how to change a tire, how to hammer a nail and rub a saw with soap, and how to run the family film projector and splice the smaller reels of film into a big one (I wrote a prose poem about him and the projector you can read here). A habit of his I’ve passed on to my sons was how Daddy would leap up from the dinner table to find a reference volume so he could answer one of his four children’s questions.
Have to check on birthplace, but I think Newton MA
He did not stay there, went to Boston University and met my mother
He was a salesman–worked in publishing for most of his career. Loved working with librarians.
He was always a non-fiction reader, but in the last few years has finally caught up with the family mystery reading obsession. P.M. Hubbard was always a favorite. He is one of a half dozen people who actually read my thesis on Agatha Christie, and is rediscovering her. Also likes MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. And is, of course, a fan of the Wickeds, especially Barb’s Maine series.
His best attribute is that he loves his family fiercely. My mother is at the top of the pyramid, followed closely by daughters, grandchildren, sons-in-law (as long as they are good to his daughters and good fathers to their children), family & friends, and then others. My mother is high above us all, and they recently celebrated their 55th anniversary. He raised his daughter’s to be self sufficient women. He always made us feel like a million dollars in singles (family phrase), treated us equally, and loves us unconditionally.
Favorite memory: There are a ton, a lot really sappy. I don’t know why, a memory of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride always makes me smile. In 1977 or 1978 we went to Disney World, and my youngest sister was 10 and couldn’t get enough of It’s A Small World. My sister Kristen and I were 14 and 15, and we could, so we went with Dad on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We had to take separate cars. At one point the cars whipped around and faced each other, which my sister and I saw since we were ahead of him. So when we whipped around we made a face or waved, and he fell out laughing. The three of us couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the ride. We’d pull it together, but then we’d hear him behind us.
I won the lottery with both my folks, and am so lucky to be sharing this new publishing adventure with them.
My dad was born in Novinger, Missouri — a little town named after his forefathers.
He went to college in Kirksville, Missouri, got his first teaching position in a little town outside of Hannibal, Missouri. Spent most of his adult life in Davenport, Iowa, and retired to Destin, Florida.
Like Liz, my dad was a math teacher and like Liz, I’m terrible at math!
My dad read a lot! From the newspaper to biographies to novels. Our house was full of mysteries and thrillers. (So maybe the math part didn’t take but the reading part did!)
His best attribute was his sense of humor and his outgoing personality. He always had a joke to tell.
Favorite memory: Which to pick? He used to pretend he was a monster and chase us around the house — he was really scary. In high school I fell in love with a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass and convinced Dad to go test drive one. He made a huge list of pros and cons (with many more cons) to consider before making a decision. I was so disappointed when he showed me the list and all of the reasons not to buy it. Then he went and bought the car the next day. When I got to drive it, I thought I was hot stuff.
Readers: Please share a memory of your dad with us!