Father’s Day is coming up soon, and it’s one of those holidays I always hope will come and go quickly. I haven’t seen my Dad since I was about 12, and that annual reminder in June always fills me with a certain quiet sadness.
It began in 1959 when my parents got divorced. I don’t remember much about that time, except suddenly Dad wasn’t around anymore. Before he left, I remember hushed conversations behind locked doors, and my dad not being able to go to work. But I didn’t know what it all meant back then.
Only years later, did I find out that he had manic depression, an affliction that is discussed pretty openly now. But back then, the topic was relegated to whispers, visits to the hospital, rumor and speculation.
When you’re a kid and there’s no father in the house, suddenly you’re no longer a part of that Leave It to Beaver club. Your parents are DIVORCED. It's like some plague hit our family, and I remember the kids at Carpenter whispering about us like the situation was contagious.
Little did I know that in the 50's and 60's there were very few Leave it to Beaver families. Most had something going on, whether it was alcohol, infidelity, money issues, an illness, physical or sexual abuse or something else. We just didn’t talk about it. Back then, everything was swept under the carpet.
It was the Mad Men era, when women were supposed to wear their aprons proudly, and have a stiff drink waiting for hubby upon his return from the office. The kids rallied around the dining room table discussing homework, school crushes and other neat and nifty topics. I'll bet those families only existed on TV.
I miss my Dad. I miss his tussle of my hair, calling me Mayra, with his southern Mississippi drawl. I miss his childish sense of humor, taking us out for ice cream at Thrifty's after church, and his prankish nature.
I'm sure some of my friends had fathers who were mean, abusive, and irresponsible. My father wasn’t one of those. He just got sick. Maybe those of us who grew up without fathers were spared certain things that others had to endure.
I guess I’ll never know. I just know that I loved my Dad, and I still do, even though he’s been gone since 1965.
Happy Father’s Day Dad…