Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy Dad's Day

My father was very clever and his knowledge of many matters often surprised me, especially given he did not read much and did not watch telly but he must have when read when he was younger. Not only was he knowledgeable, he was very practical and technically minded. He had a very tough upbringing with his mother, the Bolter, running off to Sydney with one of her music students and he more a less bringing up his three brothers and keeping house. Unlike his brothers who attended tech schools, he went to high school and learnt things like Latin, heavy mathematics and obviously hand writing. Where he learnt to be such a graceful dancer, I have no idea. His school must have been Camberwell High School, as the social climbing Bolter insisted that the family rent a house in Camberwell with a croquet lawn. A couple of fifties or sixties houses now sit on the Lorne Grove site.

Only later life when we sometimes sat with a bottle of scotch did if ever really express any personal feelings. Even after R and I were together for over ten years, he ignored the elephant in the room and sometimes mentioned that he had come across a 'lass' somewhere who would make a good wife.

Towards the end of his life, I challenged him on many things, but I never mentioned the 'g' word. In some ways I wish I had, but really, it would have pushed him into a corner from where he would be unable to extract himself. I asked my step mother a few years after his death about his refusal to see what was blatantly in front of his eyes, and she told me that he knew, but just did not want to admit it.

He did not live long enough to not acknowledge his daughter also preferred a partner of the same sex. Sister would not even tell him about her considerable sporting successes and forbade me to mention that she played football.

As a teen, I was insanely jealous of my father and step brother's relationship. The could talk about all sorts of things, joke, laugh. Many things he never did with me. It did come to head one day after a, unlike me, very emotional outburst. I was reassured that I was far more important to him than my stepbrother. He explained how he saw my step brother more as a mate than a son. Later in life, he treated R the same as my step brother, as a mate.

I was going to write a light hearted anecdote about him as a Father's Day post and it has gone all wrong. I can't even recall the anecdote now.

He was far from perfect and only ever showed emotion after several drinks. He failed to connect emotionally with all of us children and my mother. I lay no blame on him for the failed marriage though. My mother was equally responsible, if not more so.

When he died in 2000, after an extended illness with cancer, I felt nothing. I felt sadness for my stepmother, but then she had lost him as the man she knew some time earlier. He died at home in the care of my stepmother and the occasional visit by a nurse.

I don't miss him, but gee at times, I wish he was around for a good chat.


  1. I enjoyed reading that post, warts and all.
    Many men of the older generation were cut off emotionally to the point of no return. :(

  2. "I challenged him on many things, but I never mentioned the 'g' word."

    My dad doesn't like gherkins either.

  3. Sadly they were Jayne. I like the way modern men are more emotional and will cry.

    Large one's can be very useful Brian.

  4. That's true...they help temper the thoroughly nasty taste of McDonald burgers.

  5. Anonymous4:45 pm

    My dad and I have a cordial relationship that doesn't involve cordial.

  6. We get dill pickles in ours Brian, whatever they are.

    Cordial is damning with faint praise a bit Reuben.

  7. Honest and classy post Andrew. My Father and I are not in contact at the moment and I missed him this Father's Day.

  8. Thanks LiD. How I treasure my over 25 female readers. :)