My Father’s Birthday


Today would have been my father’s 98th birthday. He was born on September 21, 1922, but passed away on June 4, 1977, at the too-young age of 54. I was seventeen and had just completed my first year of college.

I am far from unique in having lost a parent at an early age, but it does provide me with food for thought. With people living longer and longer, “outliving” your parents is the assumed end result. As each generation benefits from better nutritional knowledge and medical advancements it only stands to reason that folks will live longer than their parents did.

Although my father did not reach my age, at the time of his passing he had fought in World War Two, been married for thirty years, worked at one place for twenty-five years – receiving his congratulatory watch mere months before passing – and was the father of three, and grandfather of one.

But I believe the earlier you cross this lifespan Rubicon, the more it makes you think. Although my father did not reach my age, at the time of his passing he had fought in World War Two, been married for thirty years, worked at Seagram’s distillery for twenty-five years (an irony, as he was essentially teetotal, having a drink only on rare occasions such as weddings) – receiving his congratulatory watch mere months before passing – and was the father of three, and grandfather of one.

Because of the efforts of my father and millions of other volunteers, I have been spared military service and war.  I had the opportunity to earn two university degrees, yet have had several “careers” of varying lengths, ranging from months-long to sixteen years in duration, with no golden watch looming on the horizon.

He read a newspaper and took tablets for various aches and pains. I read the newspaper on a tablet.

I can take a picture with my mobile phone; he wasn’t a big fan of the telephone that hung on our kitchen wall. He bought tickets from a streetcar/bus driver while I charge my bus pass and scan it to gain entry to the Metro and bus.

He read a newspaper and took tablets for various aches and pains. I read the newspaper on a tablet.

Having birthdays one day apart – tomorrow is my mine – I like to think we had many things in common as well as the above differences that are all environmental in nature. An interesting birthday story: while I missed being a birthday gift for my father by several hours, I was a present for my grandmother with whom I shared a birthday until her passing.

2 thoughts on “My Father’s Birthday

  1. Linda Blackwell Phelan September 21, 2020 — 10:30 am

    Dear Deegan, what a lovely tribute to your dad, as well as an insight into how a generation changes things. He was very special to me, my godfather, too. I always remember his calm, his kindness, his quiet sense of humour. Chris lost his dad at about the same age; he really connected with what you wrote. Take care, both of you, Linda

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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