When is a father’s job done?

Mongoose is gone

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.

June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)
pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.

Evanier saw Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. I remember watching the Holbrook special on CBS in 1967. Hadn’t seen it since, but it had a profound effect on me in terms of the wonders of storytelling. Also made me a big Hal Holbrook fan; I watched the Senator segment of The Bold Ones a few years later, which lasted one season, but won five Emmys.

Evanier introduces Julie Newmar to Wendy Pini. The former was one of the portrayers of Batman’s Catwoman; the latter, the artist who draws Elfquest, and who used to show up at FantaCo in Albany frequently.

Alex Trebek Sets A Guinness World Record For Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ And Who is our new favorite ‘Jeopardy’ loser? His imitation of Putin WAS fun.

Eye Macs.

There’s a new blog, Verizon Wireless Hell. Meanwhile, Time Warner’s Roadrunner e-mail was out for several days, and not for the first time, but only the residential customers. As one unhappy customer I know wrote: ” TW is too big, and its equipment is too small, to provide reliable service, despite their eternal advertising.”

William Rivers Pitt: The Astonishing Privilege of Fatherhood

Distribution of letters in parts of words and auditory illusion.

The Seven Lady Godivas: Dr. Seuss’s Little-Known “Adult” Book of Nudes.

Jaquandor: please add this to my pet peeve list: the use of I as a lower case L. I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

Pantheon Songs on the importance of Blind Willie Johnson.

Jim Keays passed away. “He was the lead singer of The Masters Apprentices, one of the seminal Australian psychedelic rock and pop bands of the 1970s.” Eclectic stuff.

Tosy: U2, ranked 60-51 and 50-41.

Watch the bass player. Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens (ca. early 1940s). “This film seems to be a mirror image of how things are supposed to be. This is because original Soundie films were printed backward so that they could appear correct when played in the Panoram machine (an early film jukebox).” Someone flipped the tape, and it’s supposed to look like this. It’s also at 7:50 here, which has nicer resolution.

Was the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California inspired by an older Jethro Tull track?

Beatles’ lyrics and the words they used most. They used LOVE 613 times, more than any word that wasn’t a pronoun (you, I, me); an article (the, a); or a preposition (to).

The Groovy Imitation Bands of 1960s Japanese Rock.

Bobby Womack, the revered “poet” of soul music for his prowess as a songwriter as well as singer and guitarist, died at 70.

Maya Angelou reading her poem Phenomenal Women. And a graphic representation. Plus, Melissa Harris-Perry shares her exclusive interview with Dr. Angelou.

The Racialicious Tony Awards recap. The In Memorium segment, not in the show, only on YouTube(!)

A Tom Waits/Cookie Monster mashup.

A World Cup-themed Mickey Mouse short.

FROZEN support group. NSFW.

The 13 Most Ghastly Horror Comic Artists, Part 1 and Part 2.


Jaquandor thanked me for pointing him to a couple articles. One was about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson returning to the comics pages in the Stephan Pastis’ Pearls before Swine strip.

Interesting that Julio cites me for providing a graphic about technology ethics when I clearly noted the source, but I appreciated the shoutout.

Is UNO the card game that destroys relationships? The Daughter and I like it, and she’s more cutthroat than I. Jaquandor loves Chuck Miller’s description of the game.

Arthur links to me linking to him, but also has interesting linkage about the Bible.

SamuraiFrog answers my question about politics and about Dustbury and Playboy Playmates.


Alcoholics fight ‘rampant epidemic’: Roger Green played for the Junior All Blacks. He screen-tested to play James Bond in Diamonds are Forever and acted on the big screen with Orson Welles. He married into British high society. Drove a white Mustang across the US. Made a fortune importing meat into Saudi Arabia. But he also had fights, criminal convictions, and three failed marriages. And he looks back on it all with disdain.

HOME angler Roger Green reeled in top prize in the Trowbridge Seniors match at Farleigh Wood on Tuesday with 29 lb 12 oz of carp and skimmers.

The Unresolved Father Lineage Stuff

What I REALLY want to know is who was my father’s biological father.

The item I wanted to check the most is where my father lived, and just as important, how he is listed. This is the listing for my paternal grandmother’s household in the 1930 Census:

Samuel E Walker, 56, janitor in a public building (my great grandfather, who I remember from my childhood)
Eugene M Walker, 52 [Mary Eugean Patterson Walker, from other sources] – deceased by the time I was born
Agatha H Walker, 27, housekeeper, private family (my grandmother, who died in the mid 1960s)
Earl S Walker, 25, caterer, hotels
Stanley E Walker, 20
Vera C Walker, 17
Melissa C Walker, 15
Jessie G Walker, 13
Morris S Walker, 11
Wesley H Walker, 3 [3 6/12]

Samuel is listed as head of household, Eugene as his wife. Everyone else is listed as his sons or daughters. The oddity is the Wesley Walker record. From the time frame, that is clearly my father, Agatha’s son, but I knew him as Leslie H Green. This begs the obvious questions.

I’m looking to see when the guy I knew as my grandfather, McKinley Green, entered the picture. From the 1938 Binghamton city directory, I can tell my grandmother’s last name was Green, but she appeared to be living at 339 Court Street, whereas McKinley was at 135 Susquehanna Street. The 1940 Census continues to show the Walker clan together, but my grandmother as Agatha Greene (enumerator error) and my father as Leslie Greene. McKinley lived in a boarding house.

What I REALLY want to know is who was my father’s biological father. Rumor had it that my grandmother got pregnant by some minister. Of course, I never asked my father about this. Whatever info I got was from my mother, who got the info secondhand, and from his cousins, all of whom were younger than my father, and thus not present either.

My sisters have mused that, in retrospect, we should have brought this up to my father, but that wasn’t going to happen. NONE of the info I know, or think I know, originated from him, so it would have been mighty difficult to casually slide it into the conversation.

In the picture is my father (center) with his mother, Agatha (right). I have no idea who the others are, though the boy sure looks like a Walker.

P is for Peeved Parent

*to take care of someone’s baby or child while that person is out, usually by going to their home
*a person engaged to care for one or more children in the temporary absence of parents or guardians

I was reading the May 2011 Parenting: School Years magazine that had been abandoned in the common lunchroom, when I came across this advertisement.

Now I’ve been a parent for a while now. And, at least since the latter part of the 20th Century, I’ve noticed that there has been a concerted effort, at least in the United States, for fathers to be treated like parents too. Just this semester, there was an event in Albany, NY for fathers to walk their children to school, and in some schools, to stay for breakfast. This was also a message that had been spread in the Daughter’s preschool.

So messages like the one above, in my opinion, undercut the message. I’ve also been peevish with General Mills for quite a while, with their tag for KIX cereal – “Kid tested, Mother approved,” which you can see in this commercial and this one, among many others. And in these examples, not an adult, of either gender, in sight.
How about “kid tested, parent approved”? Doesn’t even change the scansion.

In that same magazine, an article naming moms in the title, but in the actual article, visits from either or both parents are cited.

Early on in this blog, I noted another pet peeve: when I took off from work to watch my daughter, someone said, “Oh, you’re going to babysit Lydia.” Can you babysit your own child? It didn’t resonate correctly with me. To the dictionaries to look up babysitting/babysitter:

to take care of someone’s baby or child while that person is out, usually by going to their home
a person engaged to care for one or more children in the temporary absence of parents or guardians
*a person who cares for or watches over someone or something that needs attention or guidance
OK, so there’s some wiggle room in the third definition.

But I asked my wife “Has ANYONE EVER said to you, ‘Oh, you need to babysit Lydia [because she’s sick, etc.]?” And the answer, as I suspected, was “No.” SHE watches, SHE tends to, SHE cares for. And I babysit? Nah, I watch, I tend to, I care for. I really believe the linguistic distinction matters. When she’s ready to be in a relationship and have children HUNDREDS of years now, I want her to have a partner who is a caregiver, not a babysitter.

Finally, a song: Be Kind To Your Parents. I had a different recording of this song, on pink vinyl. My sister Leslie and I used to sing it, though we changed the lyrics somewhat…
Be kind to your parents. You know they deserve it. Remember that grownup’s a difficult stage of life… They’re apt to be nervous and overexcited, confused from the daily storm and strife. Just keep in mind, though it sounds odd I know, most parents once were children long ago. INCREDIBLE!!! So treat them with patience and sweet understanding in spite of the foolish things they do. Someday you may wake and find YOU’RE A PARENT, TOO!
[So is THAT how it happens…]

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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