Photograph- Dad and I- summer of 1983
Saturday, July 13th will be my father's 35th death anniversary. Time eases all pain but I don't think you ever get over the loss of your parents. I have been reflecting over the last few days about my father and the values he was able to instil in me in the short 14 years that we had together. He did his job right. I could not have asked for a better father, the only thing that I would change, of course, is he left me far too early. But I'm also aware that I was lucky to have had the time that I did have with him. And I was fortunate to be so loved.
My father was a very kind person and he very much believed in giving to charity. When he was in his early 20s he started the charitable organisation Crusade for Peace with his brother. I was going through some of the old newspaper clippings about this charity and my father said 'We are interested in breaking down the barriers of ignorance which separate people. We want to create a proper climate for mutual understanding'. The article states 'One of the movements features is the accent placed on the individual contribution he can make to peace'. I love this. I really don't know much about it and sadly I don't have anybody to ask. I found this file amongst my mother's possessions when she passed away. It is full of newspaper articles, letterheads and photographs, as well as the music score for 'Let There Be Peace On Earth' which apparently inspired the movement. I do recall my mother discussing this with me, and I think it was a short-lived venture. Nonetheless, it gives me a glimpse of my father's life in the early 60s. And of course, what's old is new! Peace is very much still on the agenda, now more than ever I think.
When I was growing up every Labour Day weekend there was the Jerry Lewis Telethon which raised money for muscular dystrophy. I am uncertain why my father felt such an affinity to this charity but he always encouraged my friends and me to hold a fundraising sort of carnival. Which we did, three summers running. We would set up games, perform 'fashion shows', have a garage sale, sell lemonade, guess how many jellybeans are in the jar and that sort of thing to raise money for the charity. I remember it was a fun thing to do and I recall a lot of people coming and contributing money. My father would then double or triple whatever we made and pledge the money to the charity.
I think this was a really important value to introduce to a child. He was no longer around when I got to an age when I started thinking about giving to charity but it was part of my nature thanks to my dad. There are some gifts that a person can give you that are priceless. I believe those to be unconditional love and good values. Of course, I can easily idolise my father, we never got to a point in our lives where we had the potential to disappoint each other. And maybe that's a really lovely thing. Time is suspended forever between a 14-year-old girl (before she became a nightmare teenager in her later years!) and a 43-year-old man who loved his daughter more than life itself.
Photo Below- Photo for Crusade for Peace. My father Keith and my mother Merle behind the globe. My mother's sister Pat (Left) and my father's brother Glenn (Right). Photo Credit “LaBudde Special Collections, UMKC University Libraries.” (Weirdly this photo can be found online- My mother's mother was from Kansas. I can only surmise that when this photo was taken, a copy was sent to my great grandparents in Kansas, and this is how it has ended up in a University of Missouri archive- it's a small and wonderful world!) This also led me down a rabbit hole of looking at my family tree- never, ever go down this rabbit hole if you have work to do, before I knew it, hours and hours had slipped through my fingers!
I have been writing bad poetry since the 80s folks. I am going to turn my hand to writing a non fiction book in 2019, I feel excited by the prospect!