Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Did Your Father Leave You?

As anticipated, with today being the day before Father's Day, Randy Seaver has chosen Father's Day as the theme for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) It's Father's Day in the USA on Sunday, so let's talk about our fathers.  

(2) Your father probably lived a complete life, and you probably have memories of him.  What memories and attitudes did he "leave" you with?

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook post.

My father was Bertram Lynn Sellers, Jr. (1935–2019).  I was the oldest child of his marriage to my mother; he used to call me his "favorite middle daughter" because my half-sister, from his first marriage, is his oldest child.  Yes, he did leave me with memories and attitudes.

• Love of cars.  I've written many times about my father's lifelong love affair with cars.  He raced, he was a mechanic, he loved to hang around cars and other people who liked them.  I guess I was the kid who liked cars the most, and I used to hang out with him while he worked on engines.  I used to be able to identify all the engine parts and knew all the tools by name; he could ask me for a tool and I would run and get it.  I still love cars, and the smell of engine grease in a garage makes me feel at home.

• Love of music.  My father was a talented musician who might have gone far with it if (1) he hadn't been more interested in cars and (2) he hadn't been pretty lazy.  He played guitar and piano.  When he was 17 he competed with a swing band on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour and came in second to a young Gladys Knight, in her first televised performance.  He used to play songs on his guitar for my siblings and me when we were young.  I love singing and performing; I started young and kept up with stuff until my move to Oregon, where I have not yet found a compatible gig.  I have taken piano and guitar lessons, although I admit that I like my fingernails more than I like having to keep them trimmed to be able to play properly.  I don't have the same level of talent as my father, but I still enjoy the same types of music he did, mostly swing, novelty songs, and country and western.

• Love of spicy food.  Daddy liked his food spicy, even when his stomach didn't.  He would ask my mother to make the chili spicy and after dinner yell for his bicarb (bicarbonate of soda) to settle his stomach.  I've bumped it up quite a bit from the level of spice that my mother used to cook with and have added Thai and Szechuan to the styles I like to eat.  I don't know if Daddy would have liked the spice level I tend to go with nowadays, both at home and in restaurants, but he was the spark.

• I credit both of my parents, but more so my father, with my openmindedness and lack of bias.  I grew up with my parents having Black, Hispanic, and gay friends when that was not the average white family's experience.  Even though my father's swing band came in second to a Black singer, he didn't remember that; he only knew that they lost to a female singer.  He had no recollection she was Black until I researched his group's appearance (I was trying to find a recording) and discovered the winner was Gladys Knight.  I still find that impressive for a white kid from rural New Jersey in 1952.

• And since Randy mentioned ancestry, I have my father to thank for my interest in Quakers.  As I researched my paternal grandmother's family, I discovered that New Jersey is the real Quaker state; it's almost impossible to do research without tripping over Quaker families that have been there for hundreds of years, and of course have intermarried.  The vast majority in my family were hard-working farmers.  Some lines apparently trace back to the Mayflower, but I haven't worked on that yet.



  1. You have some really nice memories of your dad. It's great your parents were so open-minded.

    1. Thanks! He was mostly a nice guy. Just not as reliable as one might want sometimes. :)


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