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The Legacies Our Fathers Leave Us

A record in words and pictures

 

     What, besides 50 percent of our DNA, do our fathers give us?

     That’s the question we explore in words and pictures in this week’s Father’s Day edition of Bay Weekly. 

     In words, we balanced two stories, one looking at an old son’s sustained devotion to his father, the other exploring a new father’s devotion to his daughter. 

    Perhaps not surprisingly, both value the same quality: shared time.

     “I try to take my time with Liliana, slow down and enjoy the present moment and read her those extra stories because she sure is growing fast,” writes conservation photographer Mark Hendricks of his 14-month-old.

    Shared time was too scarce in his life with his father, open-water swimmer Brian Earley told Bay Weekly’s promising summer intern Brad Dress. “He said he wished they were closer,” Brad reported, “and completing the swim every year is ‘a big part of that.’”

    Both stories — Swimming for Dad and Fatherhood at the One-Year Mark — share with us in intimate detail the power of the father-child commitment.

    Father, son or daughter, don’t you long for the security of that knowledge? 

    I  know that I do. Like Brian Earley, so many of us have to complete for ourselves the acknowledgements of value our fathers left unspoken or undone. 

    For me as for Brian, achieving that closure has been a sustained effort. The man of whom I was, as my mother said, “the spitting image,” was not self-revealing. Shared time with him — despite the legacy of photos that show us in apparent intimacy, even delight — was often rare.

     Storyteller that I am, writing a memoir of my father’s life has become my Great Bay Swim. In my telling Gene Martin is 24, awakening on a leg of his long-distance bus trip to his younger brother’s funeral to find his shoes have disappeared as he slept. 

    The picture I share here is of a time two decades later, when he is about 41 and I five. 

    Pictures tell powerful stories of their own. So in this Father’s Day issue, you’ll find plenty to look at. 

 

Like Father, Like Child?

     You tell us

     Repeating our Mother’s Day success, we asked you to send lookalike photos of fathers and children in your family.

     Thank you for sharing!

     Fourteen readers sent us photos of themselves (or their husbands) with their “twin” or “Mini-Me” fathers or sons or daughters. Many wrote that they shared not only features but also the love — more than one said “unconditional” — we all desire in our family relationships. 

     Each photo is a masterpiece of tenderness, and sometimes of comedy as well. If this is our Chesapeake Country family, you, like me, will be glad we’re in it. 

     We see likeness in all of them. But some do look more alike than others. Now it’s your turn to decide which pair looks most alike.

    Vote for your top two at [email protected], and please add a sentence of explanation. Winning pairs will be rewarded with tickets to one of the fun and fabulous events you read about in 8 Days a Week. Deadline Friday, June 21.