Father’s Day can be a lonely time for children deprived of their dads through divorce or death. While their peers are happily making cards and buying presents, these unfortunate children feel unfairly excluded.
My dad was far from perfect but he occasionally demonstrated his fondness for me. In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I wrote of one sublime moment when I felt that rarely-experienced parental bond strongly. In the following vignette, I had just been flown home for the summer holidays after six months at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, B.C.
I felt glad when I met Dad at the airport but my joy turned to disgust when he insisted on stopping at a bar on the way home. He had left me many times before in the Volkswagen with nothing to do, occasionally for hours, while he had fun with his friends. Now Dad kept me waiting once more, delaying my arrival. As my father drove through Fort Saskatchewan, the Volkswagen stalled and refused to start. After he tried to revive the engine and only succeeded in wearing down the battery, he slammed his fist in disgust on the dashboard.
It was fortunate that the breakdown happened by Ray’s Auto Body Shop, a place where I often played. The old cars were extremely entertaining to sit in. I spent many happy hours in the yard, driving to many wonderful places in my imaginary world, whenever the adults weren’t watching.
“Well, I guess that’s it for the car. Let’s walk the rest of the way home,” Dad suggested. “I’ll phone the shop and they can fix it.” I agreed and Dad unloaded my suitcases.
“Is that too heavy for you?” he asked as I picked up a case with each hand.
“It’s alright, Dad. I’m a big boy now.”
The walk home in the warm sunlight was one of those sublime moments in my life. I felt that father-son bond as we talked and strolled through the familiar streets of my home town. “I wish Dad was like this all the time,” I thought. I heartily longed for a real dad and not an alcoholic who occasionally hit Mom.
Deliverance from Jericho abounds with vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Please feel free to visit http://www.bruceatchison.blogspot.com for more information about my writing.