For the life of me, I can’t remember even hearing of a Father’s Day celebration when I was growing up in the 1930s and 1940s. I not only never got my dad a Father’s Day gift, I didn’t even know I was supposed to.
Mother’s Day was certainly recognized in our neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At school, we drew and colored “greeting cards” oozing with hearts, flowers and Xs for kisses. I remember my sister Joan and I making “flower baskets” out of construction paper and filled with violets and lilies-of-the-valley. (We did that on May Day every year, too). Those were the only kind of gifts I can remember giving our mother on Mother’s Day. I don’t think there was much marketing promotion going during those Depression years.
At church, lots of people wore a flower to honor their mothers: red if the mother was living, and white if she wasn’t. Lots of our mothers received corsages that they wore that day – also in red or white depending on whether their own moms were living. The subject of the priest’s sermon at Mass would invariably be about the Blessed Mother, and why our mothers should be honored. Sometimes families had picnics later in the day.
But I keep drawing a blank on what we did on Father’s Day. I can’t remember even hearing of such a holiday. The daddies of Iowa may not have basked in the same kind of glory our mothers did. I still feel bad about that. So does the necktie industry.
According to Wikipedia, Father’s Day was first recognized in 1910, but it didn’t become a national holiday until 1972. I was 40 years old by then, and since my husband Gene and I had produced 7 children, we figured the third Sunday in June was definitely worthy of some kind of family partying. And from then on, I always “carded”, and contacted my dad on that day, fervently trying to make up for lost time.
So let’s hear it now for our fathers and for all the other dads in our lives! I’m sorry we discriminated against them all those years. How could we have known their pain in not receiving that new necktie or barbecue apron they’d been pining away for?
Now here’s a little Father’s Day Appreciation video from Fred: