Father’s Day – Memories of my Dad & Why I Love Reading
Every year on Father’s Day I try to make sure I set aside time for a little reading, usually a children’s book. Why a children’s book you ask? Two reasons, I work for a children’s book publisher and there are plenty on hand at my house, but mostly because it gives me an opportunity to remember my Dad who was one of the people who showed me what it is to truly love words, and books and reading.
My Dad was a surprisingly versatile man, he was a WWII veteran, who worked in a bank during the week and taught night school, and for a man in a serious profession he could really deliver a good joke. He mowed the lawn on the weekends and took our family on fun vacations to Cape Cod and New Hampshire every summer, and he was a huge RED SOX fan. He was a talented public speaker (I think back in the 50s and 60s he would have been called an “orator”), and was a member of The Toastmasters , and when I was four he repaired the arm on my stuffed doll when Mom was working—that’s right, he could sew too.
My most special memories of my Dad are the times he’d read to us, or with us. My favorite story to hear was Peter and the Wolf, I still have that tiny book.
He also read us a book about a bunny, and made little bunnies out of tissues for my siblings and me—we never grew tired of watching the fluffy bunny appear. I thought books, especially the books read by my Dad, were truly magical. When we were ages 6, 7, and 8 he recited The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes to us and we were spellbound.
He helped me learn my part when the 4th grade class was performing The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and I think he’d be proud that I can still recite quite a bit of it many years later, he was a good teacher who let us know that it’s good to stretch and let yourself be challenged.
A few years later it was Dad who helped me make sense of Jack London’s To Build a Fire, Boccaccio’s The Decameron and several other “great books” that would have been beyond the reach of most 5th graders, and with his guidance I was able to navigate Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle for an oral report, fostering a lifelong admiration of Charles Darwin, and a heart and mind that don’t shy away from a challenge.
My Dad left us too soon, I was only 12 when he died, and I often wish I could have talked more with him about books, and well, everything else too. So on Father’s Day I will be reading and wondering what Dad would be reading if he was still here with us. I have a feeling he’d choose something funny this year.
Please share a favorite Father’s Day memory with us—of your own Dad or of reading with your children.