One week from today is Father’s Day. Traditionally, dads are considered the head of the household. They are referred to as the bread winner, the provider, the protector and the repairman. Moms, also honored for their roll, traditionally stayed home, cared for the children, kept house and cooked the meals. They made a good team but each had different roles and responsibilities. That is the way it was in the 1950s.
I feel fortunate to have grown up in the era when family life was as described above. It was structured, predictable and secure. Moms taught daughters the skills needed to be good homemakers and mothers. Dads taught sons how to catch fish, fix a flat tire, mow the grass and repair a broken window. Each parent set an example and taught their children how to become good and responsible parents. The family unit was strong and divorce was less common, frowned upon by both church and society.
My father was a good man and I loved him. He worked hard and provided for our family. We were far from wealthy but always had a roof over our head, food to eat and clothes to wear. In 1946, Dad started his own company, a refrigeration business. He began as a one-man operation and eventually grew the business, providing employment for dozens of other men who were also fathers supporting their families. Dad was an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word.
Like many of our neighbors, we were a one-car family. During the day, the driveway was empty because Dad drove the family auto to work. My mother never learned how to drive because she had no need to. If she needed groceries, she drafted me and my Radio Flyer red wagon and we walked three blocks to the local Piggly Wiggly. This was not an oddity back in the ‘50s. In our neighborhood, there was only one family with two automobiles and they were considered to be rich.