Summer is officially here, and it’s Father’s Day weekend! Our authors’ fathers continue to influence their lives to this day.
(Pictured: Author Leslie Kimmelman with her dad, mom, and son) My father is the person who instilled in me a love of words. He delights in them. When I was little, he used to have a huge stack of file cards on which he wrote the meaning of (and a sentence for) every new word he came across. He also gave me my appreciation for good writing. He never gets tired of declaiming Shakespeare soliloquies, Winston Churchill speeches, and excerpts from Sir Thomas Malory’s “The Death of Arthur.” When he finishes, he inevitably is teary-eyed, saying something along the lines of, “Man, now he could write!”
(Pictured: Author Sherry Shahan with family) This 60-year-old family photo is the only one that remains of my dad. That’s me the lacy collar and cuffs, looking deceptively innocent. My dad was a voracious playwright, submitted his work when the mood struck, and remained frustrated that his stories were never produced. I began my writing career with edgy short stories for the adult market. He offered terrific feedback, usually telling me to amp up the tension. He and Mom tied for “Proud Parent” when my first novel came out in 1996. Miss you Daddy-O!
(Pictured: Author Sarah Lynn Scheerger with her father) My dad was one of those hard working fathers who missed out on the day to day routines of dinner, homework, activities, and chores. But I remember him being there for the big things. Family vacations, a trip to San Francisco when I was ten, visiting me out of state when I attended summer dance intensives, meeting my dates at the door, and waiting up for me until I arrived home, sometimes with his arms crossed. But my favorite memories of my dad are the most recent ones— seeing him morph into a grandfather. I see the joy he takes with my own children, and how they adore him. When my baby reaches her arms out to him the moment she sees him, I see how good it makes him feel.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thank you for always being there for me, no matter what! I love you!
(Pictured: Author Laura Hurwitz with her father on her wedding day) My dad was your typical ‘50s dad—ambitious, conservative, and a heavy drinker. He belonged to the right social clubs and spent every clement weekend on the golf course. I was a rebel. The one thing I didn’t stonewall him on was attending college, despite my insistence that college would be an irrelevant joke. About that, Dad, I was wrong. When I was 18 and a college sophomore my father suffered a massive stroke. Doctors put his chances of survival at 10%. But survive he did, and after months of rehabilitation he resumed his life and his career. The stroke made him a kinder, gentler person. When I was home from school we’d go on long walks and talk. We laughed. We made room for each other’s different ways of seeing the world. And when I got married in a homemade dress with a wreath of wildflowers in my hair, well, Dad was cool with that.
In the aftermath of his stroke he demonstrated attributes I’ve come to rely on as a writer, including optimism and patience. Through him, I learned wisdom is like a good story; not something you find, but something that finds you.
(Pictured: Author and Illustrator Barbara Reid with her father, Bob Reid, circa 1962) When I was a little kid, I made some fake Liquorice allsorts candies out of plasticine. I’m sure they were not very convincing, but my dad played along and bit into one, much to my delight. That’s how my dad encouraged my artistic development, imagination and good sportsmanship – thanks Dad!
(Pictured: Author Margaret Read MacDonald‘s father) My father, Murray Read, loved to fish. In this picture he has a really big ling cod. He always caught a lot of fish for me. But unlike Zuva in Party Croc! I never promised my father a party in return. Daddy had a little wooden boat and a small motor for it. He would take me out in the evenings after work and we would go way down along the island to a place where huge black cliffs dropped straight down into the water. An oldtimer had told Daddy exactly how to line the boat up…sighting three points…and then he would drop his line. And right away a cod would grab it and he would haul it up. He knew just how to jerk the line up and down really quick and catch the cod. When I tried it didn’t work as well. We would motor back home, climb the steep sand bluff to our little cabin, and Momma would fry up the cod for dinner!