Though it's not only through physical objects our fathers remain with us as we walk through life, keepsakes add to and serve as memories of the strong men who in turn continue to support their strong daughters—even while we're not necessarily together. In celebration of Father's Day this year, members of the West Michigan Woman team shared some of their favorite keepsakes and memories of their fathers.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Suydam.
"My fascination for true crime certainly comes from my dad, Bob. Though there are plenty of items he's loaned me that I've 'forgotten' to give back just yet, an old book by Lowell Cauffiel about a notorious crime that took place in our hometown is one that's really special to me.
"I also love when he picks up his guitar and—because he's crazy talented—starts playing whatever comes to mind. Sometimes when I visit, I'll secretly record little clips so I can listen to him play whenever I want. I cherish the old photos found tucked away in boxes from his time growing up playing in bands in 1970s Detroit.
"We often bond over humor, and I'm constantly impressed with the deep-cut internet jokes and videos he manages to find and share with me. Every time I take a long drive just to see what's out there in the world, I know it's because my dad also finds enjoyment in doing the same thing." —Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Megan Marshall.
"This isn't a specific keepsake, but every time I buy a book, I think of my dad.
"Ever since I was little, my dad has been a huge supporter of my love for books. When I head to the east side of the state to visit, our dad/daughter dates become a regular event. We stop at Barnes & Noble, grab a coffee inside, and spend the day browsing the aisles. Although he isn't an avid reader like myself, he busies himself in the magazines while I get lost in the Thriller section. It's something I cherish and look forward to, every time I see him!" —Megan Marshall, Membership and Accounts Coordinator
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pascua.
"Growing up, my dad would always stress the importance of dressing how you want people to perceive you.
"'If you look well-kept, then people will treat you kindly. If you look like you don't take care of yourself, then people will treat you poorly.'
"He grew up in the Philippines, the youngest of seven children, with next to nothing. As a young adult, he moved to England to become a psychiatric nurse. When he was there, the money he earned was sent back to his family. But the little he had leftover; he would spend on fancy ties. Once he immigrated to the United States to become an educator, and eventually a superintendent of schools, those ties were something he truly treasured. In his eyes, it made people see him far differently than just a poor, brown man from Asia.
"When I was 12, I didn't really know all of that. By then, I gained my fashion sense from my dad, who would never be seen without a suit and tie—even when mowing the lawn. I really wanted to be a fashion designer, so I snuck into his closet and grabbed all those ties. Inspired by what Mayim Bialik wore in the show opening of Blossom, I took those ties, cut them up and created a skirt. When he saw what I did, he started silently tearing up. He told me about where he got the ties and how much it cost him to buy them. I felt so bad. He looked at me, laughed and hugged me saying he expected me to wear that skirt forever.
"I still have it." —Jennifer Pascua, Content Engagement Manager
Photo courtesy of Ashley Micallef.
"It's hard to narrow down just one keepsake that reminds me of my dad! As I look around to pick one to write about, 'my' portable/tailgate grill catches my eye. My dad and I share a passion for cooking for family and friends! We cook together almost every time I visit.
"My dad is AMAZING at grilling any and all kinds of food! A lot of people stereotype dads as being able to grill but anyone that has eaten my dad's food can back me up—he has a real talent for it! So naturally, I 'grill him' for as many tips and tricks as I can.
"My parents have a regular grill as well as a portable grill. My dad let me 'borrow' their portable grill when I moved into my apartment a few years ago and then he purchased a new one shortly after. Thanks to him, I've been able to grill on my apartment balcony and try to perfect my grill skills! I think of him (and often call him for advice) every time I use it!" —Ashley Micallef, West Michigan Woman Media Consultant, Media Sales and Operations Coordinator
Photo courtesy of Amy L Charles.
"A favorite keepsake from my dad may well be his Ottawa Hills High School class ring. It looks so important and classic in its styling. I was always fascinated by it when I was wee!
"Tom Charles fostered my love of reading by having me tag along whenever he went to the Grand Rapids Public Library. I suppose he only has himself to blame for my wanting to pick up a book when it was time for 'lights out.' He also fostered my love of photography. I always had access to a little camera of some sort. We listened to plenty of older music together—big bands and others from the '30s and '40s, for starters. Later in life, I turned him on to several jazz greats he didn't know too well: John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Thelonius Monk ...
"While we have our similarities, we do have many differences.
"Every four years, since I was old enough to cast a presidential ballot, he's called to ask: 'Did you cancel my vote yet?'
"Every four years, I do." —Amy L Charles, Editorial Director
Photo courtesy of Jill Carroll.
"Growing up with a dad whose career was dedicated to serving at-risk youth, I certainly got my share of insight and advice. There were times that it felt corny, but I now find myself reciting the common phrases, especially during challenging times.
- Control what you can control.
- Never give love to get love in return.
- There can never be too many caring adults in a child's life.
- Love unconditionally.
"These words of logic, knowledge, and how to love—and the example he's set by living them!—are my favorite keepsakes and those I hope to pass on to my own children." —Jill Carroll, Marketing Manager
If you're fortunate enough to have a strong father figure still present in your life, make sure they know how much they're cherished and loved—this Father's Day and every day.
Written and Compiled by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.