Editor’s Note: Our third story in our Father’s Day series was written by Nancy Scherer, a New Jersey banker. As a mother and grandmother herself, Nancy offers a unique perspective of her dad. She has great appreciation for the love and wisdom she learned from him. Nancy fondly remembers times that her dad was the ultimate hero….even when it came to rescuing a pillow case of stolen candy!
I can easily call my father my hero. He is the son of Irish immigrants, and was raised with very few of the comforts of life. My dad has always been a tough guy. He enlisted in the Marines right after finishing High School.
When he completed his tour of duty, he came home and married his high school sweetheart, my Mom. His profession of choice was to become a police officer. He believes in right and is a protector of all!
He fathered seven children, which consisted of five boys and two girls. I am the oldest girl and fall third behind in the age line. Dad was rarely home when we were kids. It was because he had two, sometimes three jobs in order to support our family.
As a young child, I remember feeling a sense of peace when I could hear him snoring in the other room. He was home. And, though I felt scared of him at times, I felt safe when he was home.
Always the Protector
He was big and tough and yes scary. And, always our protector. I remember the Halloween one of my brothers and I were about six and seven years old. We spent all day of gathering candy in our ugly striped pillowcase. I went on ahead to get home as my curfew was up. My brother was stopped by some older boys who pushed him around a bit and stole his candy.
My brother came home crying and told my dad what had happened. My dad disappeared and my mom began to console my brother. She told him that she would go and buy him a bag of candy. But, we both knew that we couldn’t afford to do that. Besides, it wasn’t the same.
About 20 minutes later my dad arrived home again. He was holding that ugly pillowcase full of candy. I remember thinking “Wow, he really isn’t afraid of anything.” I truly believe it was that he couldn’t stand to see his child upset. Particularly, because some bullies decided that it was ok to pick on someone littler than they were. And, that goes back to my father believing in right and being a protector.
Some might label him as strict and rigid. I did too, in my youth. But as an adult, I realize that he felt he had to be stern. Especially, since he spent so little time at home. And, when he was home it was for a quick nap between full time jobs. He was always busy making sure our family was safe and secure.
My curfews and my allowed to dos, were very reigned in. On some level, I was happy for this. So many of the young people in our area were involved with drugs and other troubles. I always had an excuse not to do those things.
We weren’t given any particular privileges because our father was a police officer. Quite the contrary. Once he sat us all down and told us what would happen if we decided to do things that were illegal were arrested for those things. We should expect to spend time in jail. He wasn’t coming to bail us out.
The message was clear. We would pay for the things we did. Each time I was in a position that might be questionable I chose to do the right thing. It wasn’t always because it was the right thing, but because I remembered what he had said. So I believe there was a method to his madness.
Champion of the Weak
As a teenager I saw him as intolerant of weakness. This was no doubt a result of his time in the military. Again, as I look at him with grown up eyes, I see a tender caring and giving man. He was instead a champion of the weak.
After retirement, my father choose to work with the mentally handicapped. Not only did he work with them, but he brought them home and made them part of the family. They loved him purely and it is during this time that I saw glimpses of the man he truly was deep down inside.
He is opinionated and loud. Some didn’t like that, including some of my siblings. As a result there may be some lingering anger. While outsiders, have been entertained by it.
What I do know is this. Although I didn’t agree with some of his methods of raising his family… what he did worked! All seven of us are fine, upstanding, healthy, ambitious, loving adults with families of our own. And now, he has twelve Grandchildren and one Great Grand Daughter with Great Grand Son on the way.
Daddy, No matter how others may perceive you, to me you are these things:
A pure source of love,
a place of peace,
comfort in difficult times,
joy and amusement,
wisdom and intelligence.
I am so proud to be your daughter. Happy Father Day!