but never had the benefits as his child. I never once ate a meal, received a good night kiss, awoke to him being ‘home’ with me in the morning, or even shared a bathroom under the same roof. I can count the items my father personally bought me on one hand and still have one digit left. One blue bicycle with training wheels, a wooden skateboard with an inlay of red writing, a brown coat and matching pair of shoes. The bike and skateboard were for my birthday, the coat and shoes for school.

I remember standing in line when he purchased the latter items and having this terrible sense of embarrassment. Although not understanding why  I felt this,  I called, ‘Daddy, Daddy’, to tell him he didn’t have to buy them. I did not feel right, his spending money on me. Unable to get his attention with my soft child voice, the items laid on the counter and were soon in the Magic Mart sack.

When he took me to Sears and Roebuck for my bike and skateboard there was no shame or guilt, as I was younger say, six or seven. The purchase of the coat and shoes, I was probably eight or nine.

There were no family pictures, no holidays, no weekend excursions with my father. An occasional drive to the local dairy bar for a chilidog, malt, and dip cone was usually it. I do remember one time me, my brother, mother, and father going to an eat- in hamburger place. It was the only time all four of us were together out in public. I still hold that in my mind to this day. I was so overjoyed I didn’t know  what to do.

He was a distant figure who showed up at various times and would stare down at me through the screen door with a smile and a low voice. The last time I saw my father was when I was in high school. He came by and I showed him the console stereo my youngest aunt had bought me for my high school graduation. I remember we talked a bit, maybe about after high school…I don’t really remember the exact conversation. I do seem to recall him telling me something I had heard him say when I was younger, “Always remember that you are just as good as anybody else.” I didn’t fully realize what impact those words held coming from him at the time. I now do.

My next contact with my father was seeing his name in the obituary section of the local paper. I know he thought about me, because three or four months before he died he was strong on my mind. At age twenty-six I hadn’t thought to look up an out of town telephone number.

Even in death, my name was nowhere mentioned as being his daughter.

My father was gone. I never really knew him, yet I had worn his name. I have a few memories, I carry his blood, and I had none of the benefits of being his child.

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I’ve just been pondering over some things. So much so that I’ve wandered over here several times, reread my posts and decided to wait till I was in a better writing mood. Spring is in the air and we all know that means change. I’m ready for GOOD change.  The squirrels and birds are taking advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures. I watch them through the patio window during the day as they explore the brown with green-poking-through grass. On Monday, one squirrel was gutsy enough to climb across the deck railing and scramble his (or her) way to the roof. This greatly intrigued my two year old grandson who fired out a finger and gave his self -language of “Look! Squirrel!” I’ve been steadily telling him about them and the birds that show up so I can keep him in tune with nature.  He adores the outside and being the grandfather he is, my husband takes him there to explore. Of course he managed  to find the water pan that the birds drank from and tumped it over; but Pee Pa didn’t  mind.  After awhile they came back in and I told him that it reminded me of when his father would take our children to the woods beside their house and down to the (now dry) beaver pond.  They still remember and speak about those times. Myself, I remember walking to town with my grandmother to pay a bill. I skipped along the sidewalk as the summer sun snuck between the tree leaves. My Nanny had her umbrella to shield her from its smiling gaze when we were dead in sight. Time and how we felt around people. That’s what we remember.