Daddy, sitting at the dining room table reading a Sears Catalog, Christmas Day was stilldays away, “Hmmmm, I don’t know, Fig, (that’s what he called me), what do you get for a woman who needs everything?” Memories of my daddy run deep and made lasting impressions. This moment, these words, to me … are profound.
My daddy, Jim Fitchwell, a.k.a. “Nabisco Jim”, “Big Jim” “Uncle Jimmy” was and continues to be an inspiration – he along with my mom, Leah Norinne, of course – the one who needed “everything” that Christmas.
Everyone knew Big Jim for his good humor, cutting sarcasm, generous heart, and giving you what you needed to “make it.”Like when I really, really, really had to have that dress for prom, he wanted to shine as the best father on earth and by God, I got that dress. (Know how he described it? “Looks like something you’d wear when you’re laid out in a coffin.”) Cutting.
This, when times were tougher than they are now – when grilled cheeses and tomato soup were not so fashionable. I wanted to be an artist, I got art lessons. I wanted to be a baton twirler, I got those lessons. I wanted to go to college
. I graduated and with a very respectable GPA. And when I set my sight on the Big Apple for a career in advertising – he and Leah talked me into staying when I called from a phone booth in the dingy lobby of the Pickwick Arms Hotel on 51st between 5th and 6th crying hysterically. “This was a mistake, I wanna come home.” I stayed 25 years, earned my EFFIE, met the love of my life and had my son, while there.
So, back to the Sears Catalog. It wasn’t the idea of buying presents because it was Christmas. It was that unforgettable moment in time, as he licked his forefinger with every turn of a page, my daddy wanted to make someone happy and, feel good when things may not have been going so well. He wanted me to think about those profound words spoken, instill in me, his only daughter, that – with every wish granted – a life will change, and for the better. Grant a wish with this intent.
As my forefinger ‘flips’ through my Nook on Amazon this Christmas, I am hoping my son looks on. Thanks, Daddy. Happy Father’s Day. I miss you. James Louis Frances Fitchwell July 18, 1934 – May 4, 1996.
You have a Father’s Day moment to share with us? Stop your busy day and share – Father’s Day is Sunday June 17th!