When is a father’s job done? I’ve been musing about this a lot, probably because it’s Father’s Day. The photo is of my father when he was young, posted by the younger of my two sisters on Facebook about a month ago. I don’t know just how old he is, but he is at 13 Maple Street in Binghamton, NY, the house my grandmother and my mother both grew up in.
As I’ve noted, my father, who was born in 1926, almost certainly didn’t know his biological father, the Rev. Raymond Cone. His mother, Agatha Walker, married McKinley Green, pictured here, in 1931. But Agatha and Mac were separated by 1936. In the 1940 Census, Agatha Green and Les Green ((misspelled as Greene) were living with HER father.
Yet in 1942, there was a photo in the local paper of a bunch of Boy Scouts and their dads. On the left were Les and McKinley Green. But it wasn’t until September 13, 1944, three weeks before Les’ 18th birthday that Les was legally adopted by Mac, who was back with Agatha.
My father was involved in the post-World War II occupation of Germany in 1945 and 1946. He married my mother, Trudy Green, on March 12, 1950, in the very room where the piano he’s leaning on is located. By 1954, my parents and I were living downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, and Mac and Agatha were living upstairs.
I wonder if less ever sought Mac’s advice? Certainly, I never witnessed it, but that’s hardly proof.
Me and my dad
Reading through my diaries in 1971 and 1972, when I was 18 and 19, I see that I talked with my father a lot. I didn’t always AGREE with his advice. And sometimes he was in that “black cloud” mode where he was impossible to talk with. My sisters will verify this.
My real breakthrough with my dad wasn’t until the 1980s when I was in my thirties. I was in Charlotte, NC, visiting him, my mom, and my younger sister. He was telling me that he talked about me and my intellectual curiosity with his co-workers. I was in SHOCK. WHAT? Really? It took me by surprise.
Me and my kid
My daughter is getting ready for college. At some level, she is looking forward to getting away from the ‘rents, and that’s understandable and welcome.
On the other hand, she still needs her father to get rid of the millipede crawling along the wall near the ceiling. I said, ‘when you’re off to college, you’re going to have to deal with that kind of stuff on your own. (The song Riki Tivi Tavi by Donovan is running through my head at the moment.) But, quoting the musical Hamilton, NOT YET. She still needs her daddy, and that’s OK.