Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Three Stories for Father's Day

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver was not only timely but incredibly helpful, as I had not yet decided what I wanted to write about for Father's Day.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible music) is:

1)  Sunday, 19 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about your father, or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

2)  What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook status or Google+ stream post.

Father's Day 2013
My father is Bertram Lynn Sellers, Jr., born in 1935 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr. and Anna Gauntt.  He married my mother, Myra Roslyn Meckler, in 1961 in Miami, Florida and they then moved to Southern California, where I and my brother and sister were born.

(1) My father loves cars.  He raced cars, worked on cars, worked in garages.  I remember him racing when I was growing up in the Los Angeles area and going to racetracks to watch races.  He raced while we lived in Australia, in Florida when we returned to the U.S., and in Texas when he moved there.  He has a large collection of trophies and memorabilia from his racing days (or better still have them, because I told him that if storage was an issue, I would take care of them).  He told me one story about having broken an arm while racing when he was a teenager, and he tried to hide it from his mother (my grandmother).  Several years later, he discovered she knew about it all along.  Even now, when I go into a garage and smell the grease, it brings back happy memories.  If I ever have a question about car models, I know he'll be able to answer it.  He identified all the cars in the photos I took while I was in Cuba (well, except for the Russian "Moskva", which he had never seen before).

(2) My father was a great musician.  I grew up listening to my father play guitar and sing.  I learned the words to many songs, including "Sixteen Tons" and "Mairzy Doats", from listening to him when I was little.  Later, when my siblings and I were a little older, he would try to skip a verse and I would usually be the one who pointed it out to him, which would earn me a comment about being a "smartass kid."  He also used to play piano.  He performed swing music with a band called the Court Jesters that competed on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour, coming in second to Gladys Knight.  I say my dad was a great musician because he can't really play anymore due to arthritis.

(3) My father looks a lot like his father.  This is kind of ironic, because the two did not often get along well.  Whether that was because of the ways they were the same or the ways they differed, I don't know.  But I have noticed each year how much he looks more and more like my grandfather.


  1. Janice, memory is a teeny bit faulty.

    I played piano from age 8. When I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I requested a piano. An old player piano appeared and your grandfather immediately removed the player mechanism to remove the temptation to fiddle with the player rather than learning to play myself.

    I taught myself to play the guitar when recuperating from a bone transplant in my left wrist. I needed to exercise the wrist and the guitar was preferable to squeezing a rubber ball for hours.

    An amusing incident a few years ago reminded me of the resemblance to your grandfather. I went to a tag sale and as I approached, the gentleman running the sale turned very pale when he saw me. After greeting me he stated he was startled because I looked exactly like someone he worked with years ago. I told him that the guy he worked with was likely named Bert Sellers (that raised an eyebrow) then told him I was Bert's son.

    Loved your father's day blog,

    1. Hey, you read my blog post! I'm glad you enjoyed it! But I don't see where my memory failed me. You did give me some wonderful history I didn't know about previously, though. I never heard about the bone transplant before.

      Did the guy at the sale recognize the name Bert Sellers?


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