Fittingly on Labor Day I am thinking of a tireless man that spent every waking hour supporting his family by working multiple jobs just so he could have Sundays to spend the whole day with us. He loved playing golf, but would play at 6:30 Sunday mornings so he would be back home in time for church and dinner with the family. I treasured my time with my Dad and especially the time we had alone. He was an intelligent and generous man and taught me many things. He passed his beautiful handwriting on to me and educated me. Growing up my dad always took the responsibility of teaching us about the “birds and the bees”. When it was my turn, he took me into the living room and opened up the biology book.
I learned how to cook from him and he gave me my love and passion for the beach. As a child (and still today) I had terrible allergies in summer so my Dad brought the family to a summer cottage on the shore where I could collect shells, swim with my brother and sister, dig for quahogs and investigate the urchins in the sea. In the late afternoons we would nap in the hammock together with my Howdy Doody doll.
THASC artist Mark Cooper’s drawing brings me back to the water and the summer walks with my father at my uncle’s camp. Frequently we would see dragonflies which are often found near the water. Mark accentuates the dragonfly in his drawing, reminding us that they are symbols of happiness, courage, and strength, all qualities which my Dad possessed.
In Japan as a seasonal symbol, the dragonfly is associated with autumn and often appears in art. My nephew has a Tiffany dragonfly lamp and, using beach glass, my niece designed a window in her home in the shape of a dragonfly. I was also sent lovely flowers with a beautiful silk dragonfly in the middle of them.
Tiffany dragonfly lamp and artificial silk dragonfly
My father would remember my favorite pastry was a jelly donut and my favorite ice-cream flavor was chocolate and made sure on Sundays in Lent, when we were allowed to break our fast, he would bring me one. He gave me dollars for “A’s” on my report card, but was terrified when I told him I was going to study in Florence, Italy, for my Master’s. He wrote me endlessly. I’ll never forget how proud he was standing by my side at graduation.
Mark Cooper’s drawing of “Father and Daughter” is presented in the “circle of life” to me, beginning my formative years with a special man, on a walk in nature. Though I lost him far too young, that circle never ends. The dragonfly remains.
See you all on Thursday when we remember our freedom once again!