Fathers sometimes just do what they must…

It’s not easy being a father.

When I was ten my father lost his job. He was fired. He quit. It was a misunderstanding and he was offered his job back after being let go. I don’t really know what the truth was.

But I do know he worked hard to support his family.

The job he lost was that of a news photographer at a small daily newspaper. It was certainly a job well below his journalistic skill level and experience, but that was of his own making.

I guess he had taken the job with the idea that he might go into business for himself as a private studio photographer.

A studio photographer in town offered him a deal in which he would set up shop in that man’s studio and do what was called commercial photography. My dad spent many hours building his own office in the large back room of that man’s building, which was as big as a small warehouse. He constructed a frame and installed insulation and nailed up drywall.

I think maybe he neglected to do any market study and soon found out there really was no market for commercial photography in that area. A businessman my dad was not.

He worked for a time at another newspaper in another town, having to stay in a ratty hotel while the rest of the family stayed put. But that job did not work out. He was in the employ of one of the most notoriously bad newspaper chains for working conditions.

He tried work as a traveling salesman for a time, but, as far as I know, made no sales.

And then he finally got a job as an editor for a small weekly newspaper in another town.

We moved there. He toughed it out for three years working for an ill-tempered owner.

Quite by chance, on a trip to another town, which he liked, he walked into a newspaper office and inquired as to whether they needed anyone and they did. They hired him as a reporter for their six-day per week newspaper. Eventually he became the managing editor.

There’s really more to this story. My dad worked at quite a few jobs, mostly newspapers, big and small, and for the Associated Press news wire service. But as far as I can gather, for one reason or another he was not satisfied with any of them. And he may have quit some or have been fired. But he always found other work and supported his family.

We always had a roof over our heads and never came close to missing a meal. And we went on vacations, and I don’t recall actually wanting for anything.

And to some limited degree I, a father myself, I have lived his life, having worked in the past in journalism and not being happy with it much of the time, and working at other jobs and not always being happy with them, but knowing I had a family to support. And, yes, I quit a few along the way.

Henry David Thoreau wrote:  Most “men lead lives of quiet desperation…”

Happy Father’s Day!


Okay, for those who know me, maybe I wasn’t always so quiet.

P.s. P.s.

And of course this is not really limited to male parents, but this was for Father’s Day and maybe harkens back to the time of my childhood when the burden of breadwinning usually fell near totally on the father.


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