Dads

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.

grump2Barbara:
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.

Liz:

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.

edithEdith:
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.

IMG_3988Julie:

Name: Paul
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.

IMG_9343Sherry:

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!)

IMG_9342His 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!

This entry was posted in Group posts, Sherry's posts by Sherry Harris. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. Tagged for Death, first in the series, will be out in December 2014.

20 thoughts on “Dads

  1. One of the earliest memories I have of my father, from when I was probably four, is when he showed me how to putty a window–something that I have found useful in life. He had a slightly twisted sense of humor that I inherited, and he loved to explain things. Reader? Always Sports Illustrated, and the large-format magazines of the 1950s (Look, Life). Books, not so much–although I have a copy of Bartlett’s Quotations that has his name in it..

  2. My dad, Charles William Kurth, was born in the front bedroom of our house in South Baltimore. It was the same room his mother and her siblings had been born in as well. He lived in that house all his life until the day of the fire when he was about sixty-three years old. He was a great detective and his best attribute was his keen sense of observation. Other than the morning paper and his work reports, my dad had little time for reading. One of my favorite memories is from the summer Dad had me and my friends help him build a ping-pong table in the backyard then taught us all how to play.

  3. My dad has been gone for a long time now. He (Donald/Donnie, though he was always called Bushy, and most people in our town did not know his actual first name) was a quiet man, undemonstrative, with some demons that stemmed from losing his own father when Dad was only 10) and he loved his five kids fiercely and proudly. I still remember a lecture he gave me once (he only did so rarely, but when he did, it made an impact) when I said something unkind and snotty about another person (to make myself seem smarter than she was). It has stuck with me all this time and pops into my head at the most inconvenient–but absolutely correct–times. When my sisters and I get together, we drink a Genesee beer in his honor. His reading did not generally extend beyond the daily newspaper, and I didn’t get published till after he was gone, but I know he’s bragging about me over cards and Gennies up in heaven.

      • My dad would have been SO proud of my being published – so he’s there with both of yours. He didn’t drink when I was growing up, but started drinking wine with his second wife.

      • My mom tried out teaching second grade after we all were in high school – but she’d DONE kids for years(Girl Scout Leader of the Year and more), and combined with migraines, decided to become a real estate appraiser. Made her much happier.

  4. Thanks for sharing memories of your father.

    I’m not coming up with one memory of my dad. He is a wonderful man who is so good as many things. He can do repair work and fix cars all on his own no problem? Me? Any time I try to do anything like that, I make the problem worse. He tried to teach me, but it would just go in one ear and out the other. Yet he’d listen to me ramble with made up stories or give him every detail of the books I was reading while he worked.

  5. My father was born in Boston. His grandfather moved the family there from Salem when shipping made a move from sail to steam.

    Our closest Quebec line also comes originally from Salem when John Paine left town apparently avoiding the shame of his grandfather Robert’s participation in the Salem witch trials.

    Five generations later his descendant, Joseph Jean, emigrated to Salem never knowing that his ancestor, an Englishman by the name of John Paine, had emigrated to Quebec from Salem and became known as Jean Pain.

    Joseph moved within a couple of blocks from where John had lived by the House of Seven Gables and the town wharf. If memory serves, he would have been a close neighbor of one of Sheila Connolly’s ancestors.

    My family lived there and in Marblehead (originally part of Salem) never knowing their English history. I love that I was born in Salem too, because I feel more connected to the past which is something my parents were disconnected from.

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