Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fathers, Part 2

On June 21 we’ll celebrate Father’s Day and if you’ve been following this blog for even a short while, you know what comes next:

Have you written something about your father for your memoir? Many people will.

Whether you knew your father or not, whether he was a good father or not, he influenced who you are today.  

Your kids, grands, and great-grands need to know about him.

If you haven’t written about your father, but want to, you might be stuck.

Sometimes it’s not easy to write about fathers.

With that in mind, last week I gave you links to several writings about fathers. (If you missed them, click on the above link to read the work of Mick Silva, Steve Moakler, Cecil Murphey, Stacy Sanchez, and Claire McCarthy.)

This week I offer you more inspiration. I hope and pray you’ll find these helpful as you write your memoir.

“When I was a boy of fourteen,
my father was so ignorant
I could hardly stand to have the old man around.
But when I got to be twenty-one,
I was astonished at
how much the old man had learned
in seven years.”
Mark Twain

“I wondered what my father had looked like that day,
how he had felt,
marrying the lively and beautiful girl who was my mother.
I wondered what his life was like now.
Did he ever think of us?
I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t;
I didn’t know him well enough.
Instead, I wondered about him occasionally,
with a confused kind of longing.
There was a place inside me carved out for him;
I didn’t want it to be there, but it was.
Once, at the hardware store,
Brooks had shown me how to use a drill.
I’d made a tiny hole that went deep.
The place for my father was like that.”
Elizabeth Berg, We Are All Welcome Here

“Sometimes I think my papa was an accordion.
When he looks at me and smiles and breathes,
I hear the notes.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Dorothy Brotherton writes in her poignant post:

“Young dads were useful to help us learn to tie our shoes and ride a bike and build a tree house.

“Middle-age dads were handy for borrowing the car keys and credit cards, and perhaps they helped us with a house down-payment. As a dad grows older he may hold onto the ability to give us sage advice.

“But when dads get old, really old, when they are diminished both physically and mentally, what are they for then?

“… That’s the question we must face. None of us wants to outlive our usefulness.

“… So what should we do with an old father?....”  (Click on Honoring our Aging Fathers to read Dorothy Brotherton’s post. It’s a must-read.)

Some of us cherish memories of our fathers.

Others might have only painful memories.

Some memories are mixed. Bittersweet.

What stories do you need to write about your father?

What will your kids and grandkids and great-grands
miss if you don’t write those stories?

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