This is my dad, Richard Henderson Howard, holding me as a 1 year old in 1968.
Below, he grins as the happy-go-lucky kid he was, living in Newport News, Va.
I recently visited my parents in Richmond.
I have a compulsion to look through old photos when I'm home.
It's fun to see images of my parents before I was around and then
once I was, but that I can barely remember, if at all.
This is my dad, a couple months before I was born, in his parents'
living room, the house he grew up in on the James River in
I loved this house. This was a great hill to roll down and in the spring,
millions of little buttercups sprung up all over it.
Here is Head, that's what they called him, and Grandma Howard
with Dutchess. They always had a boxer and cigarette in hand ;)
Wish there was a way to know what he was thinking
or what the heck I was looking at.
I don't have kids and my parents had me while in their 20s,
which was the norm then, I know. I just think it must have been a
little scary, so soon out of college and without much money.
One of my favorite stories is of us driving to Nags Head, NC
with another family in a bread delivery truck. This was in the early 70s
and dad's friend simply used the truck from his then job.
It might have been considered stolen actually, I don't know
for sure or how this really saved money.
Apparently, mom and I sat in back with the other kids
as the back door continued to slide open & shut.
I think what I like about it is imagining my parents as those young
carefree people determined to take a vacation.
Things are probably better, surely safer now, but the 70s,
not only seem freer to me, but like a more authentic time, in a way.
I guess that's nostalgia. I was just a kid and most things
look simpler when you look back.
Here is Richmond now, last weekend to be specific. My dad takes great care of the yard.
Maybe because I've lived in Brooklyn so long without a backyard,
I appreciate those trees that surround the back more than ever.
I spent much of my youth here at Raintree Swim & Racquet club,
swimming, teaching and life guarding.
I hadn't been back in several years and it's nice to see how good it looks. My dad
only visits the pool occasionally these days, but growing up, my parents were here
every weekend. A lot of my swim team friends called them mom and dad. I loved that.
I've written about it before, but will say again- how lucky I was that
my dad never missed a swim meet, working as a timer and enjoying himself, too.
I'm pretty sure his parents never attended a single basketball game he played
when he was young, so I know it was important to him to show up for me.
Every childhood has ups and downs, but I've been fortunate that I've always had the
love and support of my parents. I like to think that BW, above, fills my shoes in some way.
We had always had dogs and then in 2003 after the last had passed
mom brought home Panda, below.
A few years later, BW showed up again and again, until he was taken in as
part of the family. My parents are both suckers for animals (that's where I got it)
and dad dotes on this guy. He doesn't really drink coffee, though.
This doesn't have much to do with dad really, but we share a love for seafood
and I was happy to see that this local shop, Yellow Umbrella has expanded.
My dad used to eat this Tidewater Herring Roe all the time, he didn't pick up
a can on this visit, not sure why. Anyway, the owner of this shop is very nice,
his son works with him and I think is responsible for the business growing like it has.
Finally, these are a few pics from my visit last fall. Dad often "jogs" along with the train as we
pull out of the Amtrak station. It's funny and seemed to charm the women sitting in front of me.
I love you dad!
Happy Father's Day to all my friends who are dads
and all the great dads out there!
* Keep up the good work *