I haven’t before pitched My Music Man as a Father’s Day story, a gift to give a father or someone who’s missing a father or loves their own father. And yet, readers have told me my memoir is just that. Not that your father was like my father or that your relationship was like mine, but aren’t there parallels in all father stories?
You, or someone you love, may have had a father who is or was an alcoholic. Like me, you may be grateful that he stopped using while they still had years left to better enjoy life, family, friends, relationships. Or maybe you grieve because he did not, and you wish he had. Maybe a loved one in your life does have a life connected to a substance, and you have hope – as might they –to create a life without, to imagine years of life without. Like our dad. Like me you may have had a father who struggled under fears of a financial load, providing for a large family, putting his head down to secure a job, once, he really didn’t want. And maybe your father found gratefulness in his life and appreciation for all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly, as our dad might say. Maybe you or someone you know had a dad who loved you so much, yet other things got in a way for a time so that you didn’t believe it, like me. Maybe you and your dad were so like soap and water for part of your life that you never imagined one day you’d admit so much of you is just like him. Like me. Maybe the man you are remembering was funny and smart, though sometimes impatient, but above all else, kind.
Since publishing my memoir, I’ve learned there are stories I didn’t know. How can any of us profess to know all of someone else’s stories? We know only those that have been told to us or we have experienced, and what we remember. Because it doesn’t show up in my story doesn’t make it less important or truthful. For after all, if I’ve learned anything from writing, we all have our own, unique story. My story is not my brothers’ stories or my mother’s story. It is my story – and while someone reading My Music Man will also read about Oregon through seven generations of my family –and about rivers and mountains and me growing up as an only girl in 1960s Oregon– the essence of the story is about Dad and me. About him telling me not to throw a hard ball and calling me GumDrop when I shot a layup and me mostly flunking him on a driving test as a senior citizen; and so much else.
For those who knew Dad, Dick repeated the most difficult part of his story to anyone who might learn or listen, including his friends at the Alano Club. To friends and family and those trying to do better on their own journey. He wasn’t perfect, but he was proud to be where he was, grateful for what he had. No, I didn’t tell Dad’s story – I told our story. A story only I could tell.
Hundreds of times I have wished Dad was alive to know about all I have written since his death almost exactly seven years ago. A decade or so before he died, I wrote an essay in response to a call for Father’s Day submissions for Real Simple magazine, knowing I had even less than a shot in the dark. It didn’t matter, not really, when it was rejected, as I had created the best Father’s Day gift ever for Dad. Stories shared in that essay that I later put into print in My Music Man. I told Dad, in bits and pieces, my story, our story, the whole story as I knew it then, but not what I know now. For after all, we can’t tell that whole story until after the ones we love have left this earth. Yes, it is that final piece that we can’t tell until later. And, maybe, that’s what this book is truly about.
So, in honor of Father’s Day, it might be time to share this book with someone you love. Or read it yourself if you didn’t the first time around. It’s easy to find:
- If you want an e-book: find it discounted now 25% by my publisher, Bedazzled Ink.
- Most likely your favorite book store, like Powell’s, can order a copy for you if they don’t have one on their shelf or order from IPG. And…yes, Amazon is always there.
- I happen to know your local library in some Oregon and Washington locations are happy to have you dust off a copy from their shelves. For after all, libraries are the best, aren’t they?
- Finally – yep, there are a few taking tours through some of our Little Libraries.
And if you do read it – please be sure and let me know what part speaks most to you.
Learn more about My Music Man, including reviews.