Hi Readers! Interrupting today’s regularly scheduled program to announce the winner from Friday’s giveaway with Tonya Kappes! Carlrscott – please message us at the Wicked Cozy Authors FB page with your information. Congrats!
Kim in Baltimore wishing she were still lounging on the beach in Rehoboth.
June is the month we celebrate our fathers. For this reason, I thought it would be fun to talk with other daughters of detectives. Our guests today are Kathie Lewandowski Richardson and Heather Baker Weidner. I have known Kathie most of my life. Her dad was once my dad’s partner on the force. Heather is a mystery author whom I recently met at Malice Domestic and we bonded over our dad’s shared occupation.
Growing up, I felt I had been treated a bit differently by my school friends and neighborhood children, especially when I was a teenager, because my dad was a cop. I asked the ladies how they felt on this subject.
Heather: I grew up in a city where my dad was a police captain. As a teenager and college student, it felt like my dad hindered my life. He gave me a hard time about two clubs my friends and I liked. He knew what was going on and where, but it just felt smothering when I was twenty-something.
Kathie with her dad
Kathie: Yes, It was difficult. I grew up in a small community where everybody knew each other. The adults knew my dad as a well-respected BCP officer who worked hard and excelled in everything he did. Dad climbed to the ranks of Major and retired in 1995. There was a teacher who nicknamed my dad Johnny Law. He portrayed my dad as the enemy to the kids in his class who were twelve and thirteen years old and very impressionable. They were at an age where some were experimenting with smoking, drinking and even drugs. The kids were afraid to hang out with me because of what this teacher said and I had a very small circle of friends during that period.
Dinner times with my dad were always interesting. He enjoyed sharing stories about his day with me and my sister. He never went into the gory details, but would describe how he had solved the mystery or puzzle. I believe I write mysteries today because of him. Kathie had a different experience, but I learned Heather’s dinner time was similar to mine.
Kathie: Dad never shared “cop” stories with us when we were children. He never talked about it until after he’d retired and my sisters and I were in our thirties. He raised five daughters, so he believed if he told his little girls stories about cops and robbers, it might frighten us. One story I do recall was about when he and his partner chased a suspect on foot through the streets of Baltimore. The suspect made his way to a rooftop and jumped down with Dad’s partner right behind him. The partner ended up breaking both his ankles and though my dad was more concerned about his partner than the suspect, he still had to pursue him. He found the suspect, unable to move because he had sprained both of his feet in the fall, just around the corner.
Heather: We grew up talking about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. I didn’t realize it wasn’t polite conversation until I went over to friends’ houses. Our conversations were always interesting, and they probably provided good information for later stories. I love mysteries and puzzles. Dad went to work every day to solve mysteries. He’s also a great story teller. He’s retired now, but he’s still my best law enforcement resource. I still ask him things like, “Hey, Dad. What does a meth lab smell like?” Some things you just don’t want to Google.
Kathie’s dad was John Lewandowski. He was a tall man with a good disposition and kind eyes, a man you wouldn’t be afraid to ask for his help. He car-pooled with my dad and every weekday Mom and I sat in front of Central District waiting for them to be finished work. Mr. John was always nice to me. I asked Kathie did she feel her dad was a stricter parent due to his job. Kathie said, “Yes, I believe he was more strict because he was aware of what was happening on the streets and he wanted to protect us.” I had to agree that I felt the same way about my dad. I was very sheltered. Any time I went out Dad seemed to know my every move by the time I returned home. I think all the cops in the city of Baltimore were on the lookout for me. I couldn’t get away with anything and knew better than to try.
Our dad’s were also responsible for some of our first jobs. Heather told me her first job was picking up shell casings at the police range when her dad was done practicing. She also spent several weekends melting old crayons to make practice bullets for the SWAT team. That sounded like a lot more fun than the job my dad got me -finger printing bodies in the morgue! An experience every eighteen-year-old kid needs.
I think we all agreed our dads are our heroes and I’m pretty sure the love we feel for them has little to do with their jobs in law enforcement.
I’d like to thank Heather and Kathie for taking time out to answer my questions. To learn more about Heather go to www.HeatherWeidner.com. Heather blogs regularly with Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.
Dear Readers, What was your dad’s occupation? How did their job help to shape you?