|photo by Sergey Nivens via Adobe Stock|
Dad was the 11th of twelve children born to Polish immigrants in South Boston. His own father unexpectedly died when he was just three years old. He never finished high school, but enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. In spite of his humble roots, his early life was one grand adventure. The Army took him out of Boston, and stationed him in Germany and Austria for years. His love for that life is clearly documented in the few photographs I have of him as a young soldier: parachuting out of airplanes, skiing in Austria, and competing as an amateur lightweight boxer.
Once home from the Army, he soon met my mother and fell in love, married, and settled down at the age of 28 to a quiet life as a cabinetmaker, with four children, a mortgage, and an ailing heart.
|Dad as young soldier, family man, and fisherman.|
My mother worked nights and Dad watched over us. We played games, swam in the city pool, worked in his wood shop, tended to his garden, and listened to Red Sox and Bruins games, or the classical music he loved: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. I grew up in a musical house. The last gift he gave me was an acoustic guitar, and he took me for lessons every Thursday night. It was precious time alone with him, sharing something we both loved. Foolishly, I gave up on the guitar shortly after he passed.
My father went to work every day, six days a week, to a job he didn't always want to go to, but he shouldered his responsibilities like a man and made sure a paycheck came home with him every Friday night. He was a daily presence in his children's lives, doling out love and fun generously, and discipline reluctantly. He shared what he loved with us, and taught us an appreciation for many precious things: nature, music, family. He gave of himself, his time, and his talents. Toys and trinkets would never make up for his loss.
We thought we'd have him forever. His death was a shock. But he left us with something not everyone gets, no matter how long they have their father: The blueprint for how to be a great dad.
To celebrate Father's Day, I'm participating in Celebrating Fathers in Fiction. This is a multi-author, multi-genre giveaway. Each story includes a father, whether in a major or minor role. I've included a sample of my Young Adult novel Swim Season because the relationship between my heroine, Aerin, and her father is tempestuous, but happily resolved in the end. All of my stories feature strong father figures, most likely the result of my having had a great dad. See a story here that interests you? Download a free copy and sign up to learn a little more about the author! And enter a giveaway to win one of eight $10 gift cards to get more free books. Ends June 25th.