Father's Day: A Collection of Stories
Local writers tell stories of times with their fathers, or those who have served as fatherly figures to them.
I don't often get the chance to be with my dad, let alone on Father's Day.
For most of my life, we've often lived hundreds of miles away (my parents are divorced), and only had the opportunity to spend time together during one or two big trips throughout the year.
Those times were particularly meaningful, though, and often involved me following him around on one of his many assignments as a photographer.
Even though we were never as close as some fathers and daughters, his influence on me is certainly evident. And now that I live in New Jersey, and am only a few hours down the road from his home in Maryland, I can only hope that it's easier now for us to come together more often.
In honor of Father's Day today, I bring you several other stories about dads. Each tell a slightly different tale of times with fathers, or those who have been like a father.
Mary Anne Christiano
I haven’t seen my biological father since I was 7 years old, but I am blessed to have someone in my life, who is just like a dad.
Two weeks after I started dating Dennis, I met his entire family for a Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll never forget playing shuffle board with Pop, who is in his 80s. I learned that night that in addition to shuffle board, Pop also bowled, played baseball, danced and drove everywhere.
Nothing stops Pop from having a good time—or smoking his cigars.
Dennis and I love to go out with Pop, to car hops, Bingo, restaurants and even night clubs to see rock bands. I joke that Pop is my boyfriend, as we walk arm-in-arm into restaurants and order drinks together. Dennis is our designated driver.
When Pop is around there is always laughter at our home. But he’s just as wonderful when it comes to serious matters. If I need advice, Pop is the one to go to, especially if it has to do with money, since he lived during the depression.
I consider myself extremely lucky that I not only have an amazing boyfriend, but that the extraordinary man, who brought him into the world, is also part of my life.
While Father’s Day consists of BBQs and lawn chairs for some, our multi-generational holiday always means mayhem. The problem is, nobody can agree on how to spend their day. Over the years, I have tried restaurants, minor league baseball games, and even relocated my kitchen to my Dad’s house—all to no avail.
First, there’s my father, who doesn’t like BBQ, only has Half-and-Half in his fridge, and watches the Yankees or nothing at all. Then there’s my brother, father to a toddler and late for every restaurant reservation we’ve ever made. Next up: my sister whose birthday falls on/around Father’s Day. And then there’s my husband, who dreams of beer and ham hocks at the German Club—but can’t go because the children would hate that, even though, as he assured me, there will be a clown present.
This year, we’re changing tactics. Everyone is coming to NJ. Food will be cooked, sports will be watched, and beer will flow—but there’s no agenda, no schedule, no pressure. We are doing this at the advice of my son, who will become a father one day: “Mom, I don’t see what the big deal is as long as we’re together.”
Priceless. Doing absolutely nothing will probably be our best Father’s Day ever!
My father, the late Robert Krewson, was a wonderful kind man, whom I loved deeply and miss every day of my life.
My Dad, my mother, Ruth, and I resided in a split-level home on Muir Terrace in Scotch Plains with plenty of woods in the backyard. My father and I would often do things together, like raking the leaves in the fall when the foliage was at its peak. It was a great time to spend together outside and I will never forget it.
As a kid, my dad and I built a fort in the woods. Dad would bring the plywood; I would use the hammer and nails. It was a cool fort and yet another great opportunity to be together.
We would also go to baseball games like the New York Yankees, our favorite team. We went to one World Series in the late 1960s. Mickey Mantle hit a home run. I think the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in that game.
My dad was a very gentle man. He always had kind words for everyone. He was also worried about my late mother's health. We would often wash and dry the dinner dishes together because my mom's health was deteriorating with a bad back.
We went on vacations together with my mother. One particular vacation was to Niagara Falls, Canada and the great Horseshoe Falls. We got wet on the Maid of the Mist boat underneath the falls; it was always fun just to be together.
Dinner out was always to Snuffy's Restaurant on Park Avenue in Scotch Plains. My dad would order the specialty of the day—steak. In typical Snuffy's fashion, the steak would be served sizzling hot.
Dad worked hard in his job and when his work day ended we, as a family, would sit in comfortable chairs in the den of our home, watch the evening news, with my dad having a glass of beer and some cheese, and then have dinner as a family. My mother cooked a meal every night and we ate at the dining room table.
That's the way it was with us, a close family.
On this Father's Day, think about your own father, cherish the good times together, say to him a Happy Father's Day, take him out to dinner and just enjoy the day together.
My father, a man of dedication and interest, has raised me to be the best that I could be.
His story starts 58 years ago in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. My dad was born and raised in the midst of the Cold War behind the Iron Curtain, therefore his life experience have been a point of interest for me for quite some time. In these times of turmoil, being raised in an Eastern European metropolis, my father went through suppression and tragedy in the face of public, censored education and personal tumult. The Communist regime, while inhibiting my father’s ability to listen to The Beatles and The Stones, allowed for him to attend university and ultimately receive his master’s in engineering. For me, however, those are not his most remarkable accomplishments.
One quality of my father’s that had always impressed me is his ability to tell incredible stories, both figuratively and literally. I am not sure if that is a sign of skillful lying or simply a colorful imagination, but it made for great bed-time tales. A bard my father.
[Translated from Bulgarian] “You will excel in life, not because you are told to, but because you truly desire it,” my dad once told me.
When he wasn’t busy telling me stories and instructing me using the art of aphorisms, my father immigrated to America in order to establish a solid slate on which my entire family could set their feet.
While my Mother gave me the necessities of life—food, clothing, and shelter—it was my Father who taught me how to enjoy it.
Father’s Day is more than just a celebration of dads; for me it signifies the beginning of hot, sunny summer days. My dad spent his childhood summers at the Jersey Shore and made sure that his kids did the same. He didn’t stop with just bringing us down there; my dad taught us how to truly experience such a wonderful place. He spent his free time teaching my siblings and I how to fish, crab, sail, and surf. All activities that we still do until this day.
My father was a big surfer on the shore when he was growing up and when I was a kid I wanted to be just like him. We had five beautiful, barely-used surfboards in our garage and I used to wonder when I would be strong enough to take them out in the ocean. My father thought I was ready since I was around seven, but my mother was very cautious and wanted me to wait as long as possible. After a few more years of pestering, she finally gave in, and my dad and I went up to the beach to catch some waves. At that point, he had not surfed for 20 years and had a hard enough time handling himself in the ocean. While his prime was past him, I could still sense, at my young age, his tremendous love for the sport.
Surfing is not an easy thing to learn, and after many unsuccessful attempts I wanted to call it quits. Dad would not let me, though, and we spent hours out there until I finally stood up and rode a nice wave all the way to the beach. After that, I never looked back and now consider surfing one of my favorite past times. So, thanks dad for instilling in me a love for all these great activities. I’ll see you down at the Jersey Shore.