I grew up in the streets of New York. I was born during the Great Depression which hit the U.S. in 1931. Both of my parents had to work in order for our family to survive. My family consisted of my mother, father, my sister and myself. Times were different then, when my parents were too busy surviving to bond with my sister and me.
The fact that I was often left alone in the streets of New York, without my mother and father there for me, still lingers in my thoughts today. I do, however, remember the first – and perhaps only – day that my father and I did something together. He owned a tiny barber shop in New York. He had put up posters, advertising the circus, in his front window and in return we got free tickets.
Usually my father would spend Sundays (his only day off) playing Pinnacle with his friends. Looking back I wish he had chosen to spend more time finding things to do with me. I loved him, but there was little love beyond the fact that he was my birth father. Maybe I expected too much from him?
He was not athletic so we could not play football, baseball, or catch together. We couldn’t go fishing, either – no water or ocean to do that! We couldn’t afford to go to the movies, and there were no television programs to watch together, because TV was not a part of our lives back then.
We were not religious, so didn’t go to a church or synagogue together. Sometimes the family would go out to a farm for the summer, but my father always stayed behind to work.
On the one hand, though, I had no right to complain that my father was not there for me. He was, after all, working to provide for the family and keep the roof over our heads. I had to remember and love him for doing that, even though we never got a chance to really bond. The same went for my mother.
Many years later, as I write this, I realize I may have been a little off-base thinking Poor George – I didn’t get a chance to bond with my father. I had a great life, thanks – in part – to my mother and father who did whatever they could to give us a better life.
From now on I can tell myself to quit complaining! They loved me very much, and that is all that matters. But to all fathers out there, just remember – they’ll only be kids once.
Take time to bond with your kids – it’s worth it!
Copyright George Green © 2016 Rancho Mirage, CA, USA