My Father, My Hero

Every person alive has consciously or unconsciously, believed in “The Letter” either written or unwritten. The Letter contains those core aspects that run to the very center of our being, creating our personality on many levels, and provokes responses or reactions, defining one’s crucial pivotal points throughout one’s life, and driving decisions.  

An excerpt from the book;

At age 17 Julia received “The Letter” written by her father. It solidified many of her childhood beliefs and mores. Having just delivered her 1st child, and still a child myself in many ways, feeling like she was 17 going on 40. She adopted the role as a parent with joyful anticipation, determined to create the life she thought she lacked. Growing up quickly served her well on many levels, but the emotional immaturity lingered on for decades affecting many of her decisions.

Recently Julia realized the actual letter was written by a distraught, angry father/husband, while he and her mother were proceeding through a messy divorce. She too was angry, on so many levels, one was feeling robbed of her right of passage, an ego-centric teenager, not able to live out her wild free imagined possibilities. Her assigned family role was the peace maker, and her Pollyanna innocence led her right into being labeled the sunshine girl. Not only did she feel confused about her lost youth, she felt like she had failed, failed her parents and family as well. Everyone around her seemed unhappy.

It was one of the hottest evenings so far this summer, marking the longest day of the year, a pivotal night that mirrored a similar choice from a generation before. Was it about changing history or repeating it?

She felt an eeriness that gave the night an ominous feeling, she yawned, shaking it off. Mom was exhausted from a double shift at the hospital, looking in the rearview mirror she smiled to herself regaining a sense of comfort as she sang along with Patsy Cline, Heartaches “heartaches, heartaches, my loving you meant only heartaches.” 

Noticing headlights coming toward her on the deserted back road, a road she has driven so many times she could traverse it in her sleep, thinking to herself rarely does she pass a car this late in the evening? She recognized the car it was Julia’s Dad in his Love Machine (a beautiful 1968 blue Buick convertible and he had the top down) confused to why he was out so late in the evening, she slowed down, he swerved into her lane as if he expected her to play a youthful game of chicken. Confused but in no mood for games and put her foot on the accelerator expecting this challenge to end quickly. 

It did end quickly, and it wasn’t till she came to, did she realize what had happened. Shaking and blood dripped from a cut above her left eye where her head whipped sideways and hit the partially open window’s edge. She glanced into the rearview mirror and saw his taillights fading. 

The dust still settling, she ran a quick body check and besides the blood burning her eye, she felt okay. She cleared her throat and yelled, “had he lost his mind, that son-of-a bitch, she screamed.” He hated that name most of all, Mom only used it when she was really provoked. “My mother was a respectable woman, I am not a son of a bitch.” Julia heard those words lately as if they were a chorus every time her parents had fought. The next day her Mom hired an attorney and the restraining order was set. 

End of excerpt;

My intention is to share an incredible love story of a healthy and unhealthy bond between a father and his daughter, sharing the families resilience, connections their abilities to love, laugh, cry and celebrate generations of life, death and all that happens in between. The moment Julia was born the bond between her Dad and her began. She became his sidekick, his Spitfire, his muse. It was a wild ride growing up a midwestern farmers daughter.

Photo by Patricia Lochner – painting by Dennis Laughlin

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