Do you know your father?

Saturday 1415  – 15th June 2013

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here


Photo of my father from his travel identity card

Tomorrow is Father’s Day here in the Uk, but I no longer have my father so it’s not a day of celebration for me.  My father died 3 months after my 17th birthday.

He wasn’t young, he was 68. Of course that is considered young now, especially by me as I am only 9 years away from 68!  Gosh it seems strange writing that and highly improbable, but it’s true. So if you have done your maths you will realise that was 42 years ago.  So 68 wasn’t considered young then it was pretty much in keeping with life expectancy whereas now a person might expect to live to be at least 80. A big change in less than half a century

_1052Dad always seemed old to me. You can see from the photos he did look old. He was 23 years older than my mum and already 51 when I was born. I didn’t really know him and sadly can barely remember him now.  I think you only get to know your parents as individuals, separate from their parenting role, when you become an adult yourself.  Don’t you?

My father had been largely brought up by his grandparents so he really was from a whole different generation; hard-working but not overly affectionate. I knew very little about him and nothing at all about his life before he met and married my mother when he was already in his 40’s.  I have tried to find out more but the trail quickly goes cold because there is no father named on my dad’s birth certificate ,which I obtained a few years ago, and his mother’s line quickly comes to a road block too.

It’s no use at all having regrets but through the years I think I missed out by not being able to get to know him; it meant my own children were short in the grandfather stakes too.  The 4 photographs you see here are the only photos I have of him. The top one is in his travel identity card which is dated 1946.  I only have 2 photos of the 2 of us together – one of dad holding me when I was a very chubby baby and the one below with my mum when we were on the only holiday we’d ever had. It was to a  holiday camp called Pontins which was at Brean Sands near Weston-Super-Mare and I was 13.

Wasn’t I skinny!

The bikini was bright orange towelling and I thought I was the Bee’s Knees



The holiday was memorable, not just because it was the only one I had as a child, but because my cousin Janet was horribly car sick all the way there ( and back)  and we had to stop every 10 mins. I can’t complain though because we wouldn’t have had a holiday at all if it hadn’t been for them.

We never had a car and Uncle Fred drove us all there. There were 6 of us in his little car, Uncle Fred and Auntie Josie in the front with my cousin Janet sitting on Josie’s knee and 3 of us in the back. There were no seat belts in those days, you certainly wouldn’t be allowed to travel like that now ! The holiday seemed very exotic, all golden sands ( unlike the brown sludge of neighbouring Weston-Super-Mare,!) a canteen-like restaurant, discos and happy-camper type cabaret entertainment. Hmm not my thing now that’s for sure..

Final photo is of dad in a straw hat..Not a good look dad!

It must have been a year or so before his first heart attack and you can see he really doesn’t look too well. With hindsight I think that was why we went away on holiday.


So no hugs with my dad for me this Father’s Day. If your father is still alive I hope you’ll have the opportunity to give him a hug this week.

See Ya…

Comments always welcome, I love to know what you are thinking.


You can find my photography blog Photomania here



4 comments on “Do you know your father?

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Excellent post, Helen! My family split up when I was 15 or so and I saw my father very little after that, and not at all after my early 20s. You’re absolutely right – we only get to really know our parents on a personal level when we’re adults ourselves. And, like you too, I’m sure I missed out because of his not being there.

    I’m not saying that you – nor I! – should not be sad but, after a life with some tragedies, I don’t get down about the past (but sometimes that’s not an easy position to keep to!) as I know the past can’t be changed. Getting down about the past just brings us down in the present, and that’s not what the present’s for! Good post! Adrian

  2. scillagrace says:

    Amazing how lifestyles change in just a few generations. Your dad looks slight of build, but like he’d worked hard. My husband died just shy of my youngest’s 17th birthday; we went on holiday the summer before, and he couldn’t walk up the beach without us pushing him from behind. But Emily has LOTS of photos of her dad, and lots of memories. He was only 30 when she was born, but had his first heart attack at 31, so she never knew him as healthy. She was very much emotionally connected to him, and the thought of his impending death effected her greatly in her teens. It seems that there was so much more mystery in families in previous generations: personal histories shrouded, secrets taken to the grave. We ‘modern’ families go through therapy together. Hopefully, some of that helps us to know our parents as individuals and ourselves as individuals, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s