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June 25, 2014

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I didn't have a father either, but for a different reason. Cancer. Probably mesothelioma (in 1949 they didn't have that name yet) because he did a stint in the British Navy at a time when asbestos was widely used in ships. I was 6 mo. old when he died so I never missed him when I was growing up. Besides, my mother had boyfriends, ex-husbands and husbands (she was very pretty in her prime) who played father surrogate roles to widely varying degrees during my growing up years. So, I never really felt deprived or like I was missing out on something.

Still, it was mostly just her doing the parenting during my youth and my older sister when I was really little. I never had a problem when people asked me what my father did. I just said he died when I was an infant and that was the end of the subject. Sometimes they would ask what my mother did. She basically did nothing in particular but had a family inheritance to live on. So, I just said, Oh, she has some oil wells, or something like that which usually satisfied the person asking.

One thing my mother did do increasingly over the years that stands out in my mind was drink until it got to the point where she was chug-a-lugging bottles of vodka all day and then she died of cancer.

Now, strangely enough I sort of miss my father, or at least I miss the opportunity to have gotten to know him and have him part of my life. By all accounts he was a pretty good guy. I realize how important fathers are in a kids life especially since I have a couple of grown kids myself. This gives perspective. I have tried to do a good job as a father, but I am flawed just as many are. At least we all get along.

So, I am fortunate not to have grown up feeling bitter about the absence of my father as Brian did since I had lots of ice cream cones of different kinds while growing up, but I think everyone who has an absentee dad does miss out on something very valuable in life.

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