10 Things that Might Shock My Father if He Came to Visit Today

The daily prompt comparing “Modern Families” with those in the past reads like this:

“If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?”


Born in 1913, my father lost both his parents within a week of each other during the flu epidemic of 1918.  At the time his parents were ill and dying, he also was sick enough to be only semi-conscious for nearly 18 months.  After his recovery, he and a younger brother were sent to stay with first one relative and another–wherever work was needed.  What might shock my daddy if he came for a visit today?   I have chosen 10 things he might find most difficult to believe.

  1. My father was a mathematician and a linguist in his younger years, but a growing family made it necessary for him to accept a school teaching job rather than going on to graduate school. He might be surprised and happy to know that at least two of his grandchildren have shared the same interests in math and language. Daddy was also interested in medicine and became a medic in the Navy during WW2. One daughter and two granddaughters share that interest and have become nurses.
  2. Daddy probably would be shocked at our schedules, since his was to rise up around 4:00 AM, go to the field to plow or plant at least two hours before he ate his breakfast. After a hearty breakfast, he dressed and went to work as an engineer for the US Department of Agriculture–Soils Conservation division. Evenings he came home to plow until dark.
  3. My father was always so happy to see his grandchildren when we came to visit and wanted to train them to love the farm, his horses and the great outdoors. He might be surprised to know we have 18 grandchildren, several of whom share that interest.
  4. Daddy might be shocked that my family is still intact. Before he passed from this life he knew that his three sons had failed marriages and miserable dysfunctional families. I have wondered if their constant troubles actually brought on his early death.
  5. Daddy would be pleased to know we are still part of the church he loved and served. He wanted to be an elder, but the lifestyle of his sons disqualified him.
  6. He would be shocked to learn that two of his grandsons (not my children) died shortly after he did and were buried in the family plot. The first one died of a drug overdose mixed with vodka the same day my mother died of leukemia.  His second grandson died of pneumonia brought on by long use of drugs.
  7. I am sure Daddy would find it hard to believe that none of us (not my family nor any of my brother’s families) are living on the old home place—the place he slaved so hard to buy for his children’s “inheritance.” If my father could see the farm now, he might be impressed with how it’s being maintained, but it does not belong to any of us. Desire for the quick cash drove the brothers to sell it.
  8. Under the agrarian work ethic, the value of men and women was closely tied to how well they handled livestock and their yearly crops. I am no farmer, though, as a child, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the farm. The fine man who chose to marry me was born and bred in the city, and I have followed him since 1962.
  9. Assuredly, my father would be shocked to find out we did not pay for our children’s college education. His “inherent duty” was to educate us so that we could be productive citizens, but I was the only one to actually finish two degrees the normal way. My older brother did special projects or wrote books to fulfill his degree requirements, while our own children have worked full or part time to send themselves to school.
  10. If the table conversation moved to a discussion of our other ancestors, Daddy might be shocked to find out how little I actually know about the relatives he talked about so much. He often mentioned his parents or his grandparents as if she were right there. I know Daddy went to great lengths to trace his ancestry back through the Finch and McKinney lines, but when his personal items were divided, I had no opportunity to see those documents. Only recently a diligent son-in-law has joined Ancestry.com and sent me some information and pictures too.

2 thoughts on “10 Things that Might Shock My Father if He Came to Visit Today

  1. Thanks for pointing me to this post Beth, there is so much in here that is thought-provoking, moving and speaks to the continuation of your father’s values. It shows the inherent sadness that we can never really live the lives our parents want for us, even if we’d like to stay true to what they taught us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrea,

      Yes, and what you say is particularly relevant after we marry, because we have new personalities to consider in the whole picture puzzle. When we are very young, we may not value our parents’ goals the way we should, but later we may be unable to live up to them. Thanks for responding and thanks for the additional input.

      Liked by 1 person

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