I did something this week that I haven’t done in 17 years: I sent my dad a Father’s Day card. No, I'm not a neglectful nor a forgetful daughter. And yes, I love my dad with all my heart. I have honored my father on the third Sunday of June every year, and every other day of the year for that matter. I just haven't sent cards.
My father died on August 3, 1992.
Charles John Ververs was the quintessential family man. He modeled a healthy marriage to his three daughters, and we noticed. Every evening when he came home from work and walked in the back door, the first thing he did after taking off his coat was walk to my mother, and hold her in a long, warm embrace. My sisters and I learned to not interrupt this sacred moment. Sometimes they hugged in silence; sometimes they exchanged whispers. But we knew that was “Momm and Dadd Time,” (that’s how we spell them in our family—something special and unique) and it was not to be disturbed.
And, oh how he loved his daughters. We were five years apart in age, and each of us had our own unique interests and drew something from our father’s personality. Judy, the firstborn, shared his love of ballroom dancing, big band music, and post-World War II movies that are now considered “classic.” Dadd was light on his feet and knew the romance of the dance floor, and I can still see him dancing with Judy at her wedding. Beverly, the “middle child,” shared the fun, mischievous side of Dadd as well as his ability to stand firm on issues he felt passionate about. I’m sure that sometimes when Dadd was reprimanding Beverly for some stunt she pulled, he was secretly fighting a proud grin!
And I—I was the third of the three daughters, and here’s my theory: Dadd had so much he wanted to share with a son that when the third daughter came, he could no longer contain it. So he poured it into me (while never forgeting I was, in fact, a girl). I got three major loves from my Dadd—humor, percussion (he himself was a fine swing-era drummer), and baseball.
I treasure every second Dadd and I spent watching the New York Mets. We saw them through the dismal basement years, to the Miracle of ’69, to the Buckner Blunder of ’86. He taught me the nuances of the game—the appreciation for the ballet-like grace of a well-turned double play, the sweetness of a perfectly-placed sacrifice bunt, and the festive feel of a successful hit-and-run. He showed me how to field a grounder and position myself to capture a fly ball in my glove, and how choking up on the bat gives you more control in your swing.
Dadd sobbed like a baby when he gave me away at my wedding. I love that man.
I have a photo of my paternal grandfather, my dad, me, and my then 8-month-old son, Michael—four generations—from Christmas of 1990. But Dadd never met my daughter, Valerie. He died three weeks after she was born.
Every year as Father’s Day approaches and I shop for a card for my husband, I instinctively turn to the “For Father” section, and then I remember, Dadd’s not here. But this year, my mom suggested to the three daughters that, if we wanted, it might be cool to send him a card to her address. And I did. It felt good.
Happy Father’s Day, Dadd.