Thursday, March 31, 2011

What would Dad do?

My father’s birthday is coming up. That date is followed rather quickly by the anniversary of his death, nearly thirty years ago. I always think about him this time of year. Lately I’ve been wondering what he would have thought about this age that we live in now.

There are some things I doubt my father would ever do. For example, wear shorts in winter. I can’t remember my father wearing shorts at all. Bathing trunks, yes, at the beach. Here in California, men of all ages wear shorts all year round. For any occasion. I can’t see my father heading into a restaurant dressed in Bermudas and flip flops.

I don’t think he’d have liked manscaping much. When he was younger, he was a bit of a dandy. He liked to dress well and took pride in his hair. But spend time—or money—on creams, gels, and waxing? I don’t think so.

I’m sure he’d be quite shocked by the price of the last sewing machine I bought.

When I watch HGTV, I’m struck by how many young men say they are looking for a house with a “man cave.” That seems to be a place where they can bring their friends, hang out and watch football games. My father would never considered moving his TV out of the living room. He liked being the middle of his family. Children were needed to change the channels after all.

I can’t imagine my father using the words “Wow Factor” under any circumstances.

I try to picture my father sitting at a computer. He loved to read. So maybe like me, he’d find the sheer volume of content on the internet would draw him in.

Would he own an E-reader? Maybe. I think the allure of having so many books at his fingertips would eventually have won him over.

It’s fun to imagine what our long-gone relatives would think of our world today. What’s the one thing you think would freak out someone from your past?


Becky Levine said...

I think the ancestor with the most mental influence on me is my paternal grandmother. She had very strong views on right and wrong; she'd made it financially through the depression, with a new baby & a husband who's back kept him out of work for almost a year. She was seriously interested in everybody, and felt--I think--that manners really mattered.

I still hear her "should" a lot in my life. I think she would have loved my writing, she'd have gotten on Facebook to keep track of her great-grandkids. And she might also have loved an e-reader--especially if she could get the newspapers on it. I think the thing that would most have bothered her would probably be the "private" things (to her) that people do share online, and cyber-bullying would have made her angry and sick.

Linda O. Johnston said...

My maternal uncle was at the vanguard of high-tech things in his day. I like to consider how thrilled he would be with all of today's advances if he were still around.

Monica Ferris said...

I think my father, who was very gregarious, would have enjoyed making new friends on the Internet.

Terri Thayer said...

Your comments make me wish my grandmother was still alive and on Facebook. What fun we'd have!

Shel said...

Well... LOL. I left a huge comment last night about my mother, and her favorite authors and the internet, but I got an error message when I submitted. I decided to wait until today and see if Blogger took it or ate it. Apparently it ate it.
Anyway, Mom loved mysteries, and loved authors, and I so wish she was still here to see the level of interaction with authors that the internet makes possible.

Terri Thayer said...

Sorry, Shel. I hadn't even thought about that. We are so lucky to be able to interact with our favorite authors - and our fans. It's always a thrill to hear from someone who likes your writing.

Julie said...

My father, Carl L. Hemmer, contracted polio in 1952, and was a quadriplegic until his death in 1971, when I was 19. He lived a full life despite his paralysis, working on land development and building design, reading, playing chess, sharing and debating ideas. He would have had a computer at the first opportunity, for engineering and design, and would absolutely love the internet and the ability to access so much information. He would undoubtedly play chess online, and would probably clobber most of his opponents. Things like a phone headset, electric wheelchair, lift for a van, etc., etc. would have made the details of his life much easier, but the ability to electronically interact with the world would have been marvelous. New developments in adaptive devices for those with paralysis are always exciting to me, as I think about the ways in which he could have used them.
And as an addition of my own: All of you should make sure you are currently immunized against polio, and have your children immunized as well. The disease isn't gone yet, and if you aren't immunized, changing the diapers of a baby undergoing immunization can be dangerous.

Betty Hechtman said...

Great post, Terri! My father would have loved the Internet. He was always curious about things and would have loved all the information at his fingertips. And as a writer, I think he would have liked all the communication between readers and writers.

Terri Thayer said...

Thanks, Julie. Your father's life would have been enhanced by technology but it does sound like he made the most of what he was given. A true inspiration.

The threat of Polio was a part of my childhood. My parents worried that my older brother was afflicted. We were all immunized. I remember welcoming Jonas Salk and his sugar cube!

Terri Thayer said...

Thanks, Betty! Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn't it?