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It is only April and most writers think about Mother’s Day, but this is what I have wanted to write about for many years. Why? Because I had no father! Oh, yes my mother was married when I was born, but my father died when I was 22 months old. I have no recollection of him at all, only stories told to me about him.

I had a lot of father figures growing up such as uncles, my mother’s sister’s husband who I called daddy until I was 17. My father’s brother who seemed to care for me almost as much as he did for his own daughter. But I had no father. I was told that for my first Christmas my father came into our apartment wearing a Santa Claus suit bringing presents in a burlap bag. Of course my mother said he scared me half to death and made me cry. Maybe this is why I still love the idea of Christmas presents.

Upon losing her mother in the winter of 1898, 16-year-old Sonora Smart Dodd and her father William Smart embarked on a journey that would forever change the perception of fathers.

As a survivor of the Civil War, Smart moved his family out west to seek his fortune while raising his six children as a single parent. The sacrifices Smart made to care for his family were unique at the time, as fathers held the stereotype of being absent.

StatePoint – The tie has been a traditional Father’s Day gift since the holiday was first celebrated. But this year, men’s fashion experts say think beyond this staid accessory while Father’s Day shopping.

“The modern man is expressing himself in much broader ways and rounding out his wardrobe with more creativity than he has in the past,” says Denis Daly Wood, founder of Dalys 1895 (dalys1895.com), fourth-generation luxury men’s designer and online retailer.

When I was growing up, there was something about my father that I found wildly amusing. I would ask him a question about a familiar object – something in our home, perhaps, or an item of clothing – and eagerly await his response.  One day, I asked him to name the color of our car. I could see him thinking, searching his mind … and then came the response: “Dark?”  He was the consummate absentminded professor. At dinner he could expound upon the relationship between Judaism and Islam or about the rise of anti-Semitism. But ask him to name the vegetables on his plate, and he was clueless.  

 

On May 25, I did not want to go shopping, work in my yard or winnow the stack of newspapers and magazines piled atop my desk. It being Memorial Day, I wanted to honor the people who have helped me to live a free and fulfilling life. 

Then I thought about a brief encounter that occurred about 25 years ago. After an elderly woman boarded a late afternoon bus at Kennedy Plaza and sat beside me, she remarked, “Are you studying the Spanish-American War Memorial?”  Yes, I was admiring that idealized bronze figure of an infantryman holding a rifle, which had been designed by Theo Alice Kitson and manufactured in a large edition by Gorham.  Erected by the United Spanish War Veterans, it has adorned the plaza since 1925.