Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, has a history that goes well beyond greeting cards. The first known American celebration to honor fathers happened in 1908 at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in Fairmont, West Virginia. A Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton wanted to have a memorial service for the more than 200 fathers who had died in the Monongah mining explosion that occurred on December 6, 1907. Described as “the worst mining disaster in American History,” the explosion left some 1,000 children without fathers.
My father struggled through a harsh life, was raised by a stern grandfather with little expressions of love. Growing up in Detroit, I don’t remember that we ever said “I love you” to each other but I knew he loved me by the unexpected and thoughtful things he did for me, like when he walked blocks to a drugstore to get me some medicine and spent money he couldn't afford (he'd been laid off his factory job) to buy me a comic book.
What I remember most about Daddy are his strong hands, his Swedish accent, his blue, blue eyes, and seeing him dance the schottische around the kitchen on Saturday mornings when he made breakfast for his family. He died many years ago, one month before his 61st birthday, and I miss him and cherish his memory still.