Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day

Today is Sunday, June 16: Father’s Day 2024.

Retailers across America had been marking the occasion with huge discounts on merchandise since their algorithms have alerted them to a possible alignment with “dads” being a top keyword; likewise, online ads are promoting barbecue grills and related accessories, plus other sundry items like clothes, sandals, and cutlery.

In the true spirit of full disclosure, this reflection is being written on the late afternoon of Thursday, June 13. The sun is slowly sinking into the vast horizon of the Pacific Ocean, making it a perfect time to reflect on the more genuine reason for the occasion.

I was born the year that America was winding down its involvement in World War II. I hasten to add that I am not a baby boomer, an easily applied classification, although my younger brother certainly could be considered one.

I realize that many of you don’t have many recollections of positive Father’s Day experiences, for which I am truly sorry.

A neighbor friend of mine – from the same generation – once explained to me, “Chuck, we didn’t choose our parents.” He’d often remind me while noting somewhat immodestly that his father was one of the influencers in the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco in 1945.

In 1945, my dad had flown from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles to take a job as a network radio producer for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). My parents settled in a small community in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains: Montrose, California, about a 17-mile trip from Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.

There, at NBC, he rubbed shoulders with the network’s most valued celebrities – Bob Hope, Jack Benny, George Burns, and others, including a confrontation with Frank Sinatra that became the stuff of family legend.

Although he was apparently a well-respected radio producer with a charming, no-nonsense personality, he was, at home, my dad. He was loving, sharing, kind, and so very empathetic.

His split personality never troubled me. He was my dad. He was born and raised in the Victoria era of Boston: a time of gas lamps and horseless carriages.

He came to Hollywood at the insistence of his older brother, who also escaped Boston for the West. At the time, my Uncle Norton was selling luxurious Packard Motor Cars. “Come to Hollywood,” he would plead, according to family legend. Riding in a “Sleeper” Pullman car, my dad reminisced about watching in comfort as a cowboy rolled and lit a cigarette on his horse.

So today, in the wake of the passing of both my parents and my beloved Uncle Norton, I am reminded of my father’s love and nurturing. I learned from him how to walk with purpose (he’d tell me when I was with him in the studios of NBC to put a script under my arm and to walk “with purpose.”)

He told me to open doors for ladies. And how to look someone in the directly in the eye when being introduced. He and I also practiced handshaking; a firm grip was essential. As a producer and former Broadway actor, we rehearsed and rehearsed. I learned early on not to ask him to spell words for me, knowing that an arduous spelling lesson was waiting in the wings.

“Sound out the words, F-e-b-r-u-a-r-y,” he’d begin with this rhythm. I learned how to spell rather effortlessly (until spellcheck came into fashion throughout the journalism world).

As a father of two adult children, I still relish the memories of my dad on this Father’s Day.

My hope is that you might have positive memories and lessons that you have learned from your dad.

If so, please share with me.

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Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of RACmonitor and is the program host and executive producer of Monitor Monday.

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