In Daddy’s Day – A Brief Introduction
Back in September, I was telling my parents how I found a little boy on the side of the road, and my Dad immediately said, “Well, your mother has lost you girls before. More than once.” There was more to that conversation, but I don’t really remember it, because I was pretty much focused on how I found a kid on the side of the road. Apparently, I asked my Dad to write down some of those stories. He did it, so I figure I must have, like numerous other things I’ve done in my life that I can’t remember. (Only this turned out to be to my benefit. I really should start paying more attention.) Anyway, it was a delightful surprise for me, and I’m really excited to introduce to you my very first Guest Blogger – my Dad, Tom.
When our oldest daughter Michelle was over the other night, her mother and I began to recount, as old people do, stories of her and her sister’s misspent youth. The particular story being rehashed was about the time, while on a Christmas shopping trip, her mother lost her younger sister, Rebecca, at the Regency Mall in Richmond. After a lively discussion of all the pertinent facts and details, Michelle suggested that I write the story down and give it to her; whereupon her mother immediately objected. She said that if I did, Michelle would put that stuff on the internet and that the whole world would have access to our closet and all the private stuff that’s in it. Jacque further reasoned that it wouldn’t stop there, that there were other stories that could be told, of which many were true, and that she, herself, had a government job that she had worked very hard to get and that it had a security clearance that needed to be maintained if she were going to be allowed to keep that good job.
I can personally tell you that when Jacque takes a position there is just no reasoning with her. She held on to her objections even after I explained that on most of this stuff the statute of limitation had already run out, and that fact would, in itself, relieve her of any legal, if not moral, responsibility for any act she may or may not have committed. To further come to her defense, I am under the firm belief that the Regency Mall should accept at least some of the responsibility for any alleged mishaps that may have occurred that day because, after all, they are the ones that started selling beer in the food court. I still think that was a good point that could be proven in a court of law if necessary.
Not wanting to see Michelle disappointed, Jacque suggested that I tell stories of my own youth which, she was happy to remind me, happened way before I even knew her and therefore held nothing she could be blamed for. I wasn’t so sure this was a good idea. Michelle wanted to hear stories about her and her sister, you know, things that were relevant to their life and times. I don’t know how she or anyone else from her generation could relate to my stories since we were raised in an entirely different era. Our generation owned a completely different set of experiences. It was a smaller world back then and we were raised in a more relaxed environment with a lot less hands-on involvement from our parents. Now, I’m not going to say that coming up we lacked total parental supervision but it is fair to say we had a lot of freedom. With that freedom there certainly came a few good stories, but I wasn’t sure I wanted everyone in on them, particularly my children.
Jacque and I had decided early on that our children were definitely not going to be raised in that same free-spirited manner that we were, so we set out to make sure that there was more parental involvement. As best as we knew how at the time, we guided them, we instructed them in life and disciplined them as needed.
In our kids’ upbringing there was no such a thing as a ‘time out’ or being put on ‘restrictions’. If they needed to be yelled at, we yelled at them, and we did it right then and there so they wouldn’t be confused about any message we were sending or exactly what we thought they did wrong. We found that children were just like small puppies and any nose smacking that was needed, needed to be done immediately so it was relatable to any offending deed. So, if they needed to be whooped, we whooped them right then there, and we weren’t shy about it. With a little practice, all you had to do was roll up the newspaper. As a result, our children rarely peed on the rug, twice, in the same spot (we learned much later in life, they were peeing everywhere else). As you can clearly see we did have a strategy for rearing our children, and based on how our children turned out, I can now say, without any doubt, that we might have been wrong.
So, if we can help our children (or anyone else reading this) raise their own children differently than we raised them, we will gladly do so. We believe society in general will benefit, and who doesn’t want that? We intend to accomplish this goal by showing the mistakes we clearly made with them and contrasting that to how we ourselves were raised (let’s face it, we turned out good). By sharing some of the old ways, letting them experience what we went through, sharing some of our life and times, it is our sincere hope that we can, together, possibly, not waste another generation.
In this generous spirit I will share some of the stories of my youth. Stories about my mother and father, my brothers and sisters, my aunts and my uncles, stories about my nieces and my nephews, my cousins and my friends and yes, stories about that unsinkable little wife of mine, Jacque (that’s right we raised each other, we might as well tell on each other). As with all stories and family legends, many of the facts depend upon who’s telling the story and, fortunately for me, I’ll be doing the telling.
It’s been said that fairy tales start out ‘Once upon a time’ and almost all fishing stories start out ‘now, this ain’t no bull S#%&’, I’d like to start by saying my stories are not like that. They are based on actual facts, and occasionally, to fill in the little details, true rumors and some mostly reliable gossip. And where family archives allow, I will supply pictures and other supporting documents, to prove their validity. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, here we go….
Next week: Uncle Joe and the Nun
*Michelle’s Important Disclaimer – We never actually peed on any rug, at home or anywhere else. My Dad said this is a metaphor. Okay? A metaphor.
Never peed on a rug.
Not on purpose.