My Dad



I am not really sure my father really wanted to be one.

He excelled in his job as a top gun at General Motors Styling;

Winning “BOSS OF THE YEAR” as I remember.

His iconic signage developed way-back-when for all the GM dealerships is still used today.

Having kids in the 50’s was just what people did.

I doubt many couples asked themselves individually or together whether having children was something they consciously wanted to do.

My dad was fairly awkward in the role of father.

He brought home a new car every few months to try out as an executive perk

And had a workshop to retreat to where he made amazing things like plaster castings of the huge Northern Pike we caught in the river nearby or hammered brass weather vane or our astoundingly lovely dining table.

He was quiet.


Lonely, I think.

My mother hated anything corporate so he tucked that part of his life under his hat when he pulled into the garage every night.

Then he drank.

A lot.

So we four kids got a half-Dad at best.

He was not a soft place to fall.

When he died at a young 51 I felt relieved.

When he was alive, as the eldest I slipped into the role of “psychic umbrella” in order to ensure my siblings and myself a future

Because living in our family was some scary shit.

But Dad left a profound and positive legacy to me.

He taught me to trust myself with tools. He supported my art talent. We silently worked together making stuff and that quiet camaraderie is the fathering I remember best.

My two brothers, without much modeling, are magnificent fathers and I am in awe of this miracle.

Willing and Conscious fathering and mothering are unequalled in importance.

A deep bow to Dads doing their best.

To all of us doing our best for that matter.


7 Responses to “My Dad”

  1. Becky Patterson on June 17th, 2018

    Oh Cathy. First, I love your graffics. Each one so essence of, abstract, powerfully simple. Your eloquent words as usual. Honest, open-hearted. It’s not easy to list mistakes and authentic feelings but so necessary. To learn from. Put thing in perspective,redeem the forgiveness, clung to the good parts. You’ve inherited his best
    Parts. And we’re all doing THE BEST WE CAN IN SPITE IF HOW THINGS WERE IN THE PADT AND PRESENT. I love you you. You simply great writer and lover of life. In spit if it all. Hooray for you. Shero??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  2. Becky Patterson on June 17th, 2018

    Damn! Shoulda proofed my fat finger iPhone response. Figure it out Spit = spite. The ? marks were supposed to be emojis of hearts, clapping, flowers! I L O V E you. Becky

  3. gerry harty on June 17th, 2018

    I knew we had a lot in common Cathy!My Dad was one and the same only my Dad’s art was photography!He drank as well and I became the head of the family because my Mom also was a drinker!And last but not least my dad also died at 51!!!Thank you for your wonderful words on father’s day.Your the best!!!xoxo

  4. Adele Rosen on June 17th, 2018

    I love that my Buick I inherited from my father has a history that holds your father too
    We can witness no separation just about everywhere
    Bless our fathers

  5. Becky Patterson on June 17th, 2018

    Damn! I should always proofread my fat finger mistakes.! Spit= spite. Female Hero = Shero. And the ?s were supposed to be stars, hearts flowers. Oh my

  6. Barbara McDaniel on June 22nd, 2018

    i love this. and you.

  7. Dennis Chamberlain on June 29th, 2018

    I can picture him so well from this heartfelt and insightful illustration. They were the greatest generation but not the greatest fathers – some were of course, but they were the exceptions. You dad, without having the full support of your mother, had it particularly difficult. I am so glad he encouraged your art and it is heartwarming to know that you two worked together making stuff.

    Thanks for sharing such substantive thoughts. Your artistic abilities with the written word continue to amaze me.

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