Memories of My Father

September 1 is officially designated the first day of spring here in New Zealand, and yesterday it really lived up to its name.  Glorious sunshine, little wind and reasonable temperatures.  We all felt that spring was here.

Today we woke to grey skies but its spring and the first Sunday in September is Fathers’ Day here.  So all around the place fathers were opening gifts, children were excitedly helping and mothers were doing what mothers do, that is keeping the peace and ensuring that nobody became over excited.

What does Fathers’ Day mean to you and your family?  Do you celebrate with gift giving and special dinners or is it just another day to you?  Growing up in England we didn’t celebrate Fathers’ Day – I don’t remember when people started celebrating Fathers on particular day.  We were very lucky in that our Father was worth celebrating each day.

My memories of this man are many and special.  It was he who taught his three girls the appreciation of the English language and shared with us his love of words.  He taught us to be tolerant and to accept people as they are and he showered us with love.  He it was who told us that more could be accomplished with a smile than with harsh words. He taught us the power of positive thought and told he daughters they could have and be anything they wanted.  He made us feel special.

Early memories of my Father are sketchy as he went to war shortly after I was born, but there are some lovely photos of him with each of his daughters.

A very distinct memory was one Saturday way back in 1945 I think – if my older sister is reading this she will be able to confirm which year.  Anyway, Mother and her three girls had been to the market for the weekly shopping and when we returned home there was this man sitting in the living room.  Daddy had come home from the war.  My parents were not terribly demonstrative and I remember the greeting just as if they had seen each other that morning.  Oh how glad I was to have my Daddy back safe and sound.

Another memory is the day I was getting married.  Everyone had left for the church and he had to make sure that I was very sure that I wanted to marry and spend my life with my  Dashing Young Scotsman.  He assured me that it wasn’t too late to change my mind and then sat in the bridal car holding my hand all the way to the church.

When my daughter was born (his first grandchild) he was as excited as a first time father.  And when we gave her Mother’s name as her second name he was ready to burst with love and pride.

When his first grandchild was born he was over the moon; when his great-grandson was born his response on being asked ‘How do you feel about being a great grandfather?’ was “I’ve always been a Great grandfather’.

And years later when he was going blind he taught himself to do the crossword with my younger sister reading the clues to him while he supplied the answers.

Memories, memories so many happy memories.  Lazy winter nights at home while he read to us or we all listened to something special on the radio.  And later all watching television together and debating the merits of a particular play or actor.

When we were growing up he was strict but he was fair.  If he decreed something was so and we could counter with an acceptable argument he was likely to change the decree.  But he was a stickler for being on time, coming home when one was told to and he insisted that we behave as ladies at all times.  I must say that the final requirement in that sentence was not always adhered to.

Unfortunately, my children didn’t really know this very special man as we lived ont he other side of the world, only getting back to see him and Mother every two years.  But they do know how special he was from the tales I have told them over the years.

That was my Dad.  A very special Father who sadly is no longer with us. He was not religious and at his funeral they played Frank Singing “Unforgettable”.  That sums up my Dad.  I miss him as I know both of my sisters do and am grateful that we were blessed with such a great father.

“To live in lives with leave behind
is not to die.”
Judith Baxter, daughter, sister & friend.

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32 responses to “Memories of My Father

  1. A lovely tribute to your dear father.

  2. beautifully written and makes me feel sad to be living so far away from my children .. even though i am not the father.. c

  3. Judith, what a wonderful man your father must have been. I too, wrote of my father in the blog,Technicolor Day Dreams. Here’s the link: http://notesfromtheblogusfear.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/my-dad-was-different/ We are so fortunate to have had loving, inspiring Dads.

  4. Christine ibn Los Angeles

    He really was pretty special. Here we celebrate Father’s Day in June, so for me, today is our Little Mum’s birthday.Happy Birthday, Darling.
    Oh, and it’s also the 346th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
    God bless, Christine

  5. Christine in Los Angeles

    Oh … I believe ‘ibn’ means ‘son of’ … so, how did that get into my tag ??
    God bless (always)

  6. When our daughter was home, we celebrated Father’s day, maybe just a card and doing something together. I would send our dads a card, as we lived away, also. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man.

  7. Very nice post Judith! Glad you have happy memories.

  8. Thanks for this, Judith. Rob, Joe, and Charlie were not able to meet my Dad. He died before these three wonderful men came into my life. Still, I hold on to my memories of my Dad, and I am easily reminded of him in stories like the one you shared. Happy Spring!

  9. What wonderful memories for you to treasure always.
    I realized today I have not been getting notifications of your posts. grrrrrrrr. I know you’ll be thrilled to hear I read book one of Charlie Fox and immediately begain book 2!

  10. Like you, I was blessed with a wonderful father. He has been gone for 5 years now but he is with me everyday. My children and grandchildren were all very close to him and I see traits of him in the younger generations. I used to think everyone had a good father but I have since realized that I was born lucky, as you were. Thanks for this wonderful post and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s in New Zealand. (we celebrate in June)

  11. This was a beautiful post about your Dad. Thankfully, my Dad is here and lives close enough that we visit most weekends. My kids love their Grandpa (and Grandma, too, of course 🙂

  12. Beautiful tribute to your father, Judith. 🙂
    We didn’t celebrate fathers day til mine was well on in years and then my sister and I gave him humorous cards. Neither of us have children so our father didn’t have the opportunity of being a grandpa.

    • Thanks Val. I was always very close to my father and used to tell my own children tales of him as they only got to see him rarely. It is hard to put into words just how important he was in my life and he will always be a big part of me.

  13. I only just read this Our Dad was so special. I tell everyone he was my best friend and mentor. I know he loved being a Grandfather and Great Grandfather. My son is the Gentleman he is today because of our Dad he was his role model. My Grandchildren were all lucky enough to share his life with Gramps and have lovely memories of him. A very Special Gentleman. Unforgettable indeed X

  14. Pingback: What will you leave behind? | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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  16. Yes I remember Sunday tea at Grandma Levy’s and until I was 4 I lived with Grandma and Poppy they were always very special to me as my Dad was away in the war, when he came home we moved just down the road and had 2 rooms in the top of somebody elses house, but we still went up to Grandma Levys for a bath as we only had a butler sink.

    • I had quite forgotten that you lived with grandma and poppy. But I do remember the house you lived in in Geldestone Road. Yoyr Mum always seemed to be happy there. How very long ago that was.

      • Yes, I am now 72 and we left Geldeston Road when I was 9, about the same time you moved to Mapledene Road. My Mum would have been happy there because my Dad had come home safely from war.

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