My Father’s Plan

My Father

My Father

My father always planned for my brother and I to go to college. He was the youngest of eight children and I was his youngest. Still, very few members of our generation had gone to college and none of his immediate family had. So by the time my brother and I were in school, there still wasn’t much experience with the whole college process.

In order to facilitate his plan, he and my mom moved us from the town where he had been born, a town in which they were both comfortable, to one where none of us seemed to belong. He worked during the day in the Post Office and at night, he managed a bowling alley. My mom went back to work as a switchboard operator. We moved so that my brother and I could attend better schools. They held out until my brother was about to start 9th grade (which had to be a difficult transition for him). I was supposed to be starting 5th grade.

That’s when I became aware of the plan. In one of the very few times that my father interacted with school administration, the certainty of his plan was revealed. In that meeting, the Principal tried to alter the schedule:

We think Dan should repeat the 4th grade.”

Why?

Well, the school he’s coming from doesn’t have a very advanced curriculum, and he didn’t exactly shine in that environment. We’re worried that he will struggle, if we place him into 5th grade.”

The woman who would be my 5th grade teacher concurred, but my dad was unimpressed.

I don’t like that idea. I’d like to see him start in 5th grade. That’s the plan.”

I kinda-sorta liked the idea of repeating 4th grade. Having been born in November, I’d go from being one of the youngest kids in the class to being the one of the oldest. I might actually do well in 4th grade, and no one would have to know I was held back. The teacher appealed to my father’s logic, but there was to be no encore performance for me.

There’s so much that Dan hasn’t seen, he’ll be at a terrible disadvantage come September.”

You’re his teacher?

I would be his teacher, if he entered 5th grade.”

Then teach!

What?

Give him some of that stuff he doesn’t know. I’ll see to it that he reads it before September. Give him extra work. He can do it. Do whatever it takes, but he’s going to be in your class in September.”

I was only 9 years old. I didn’t get a vote. I did some of the extra work, and I managed to do as well in the new school as I had in the old one. My brother went to college and became a teacher. I went to college and discovered a career that barely existed when I was in 5th grade. My father was correct in his assumption that we would get a better education in that new school system. I didn’t fit in, I didn’t like it, but a few years after moving there, I became aware of the field of computer science, the field in which I have worked for almost 40 years. Thanks Dad – you’ve been gone 33 years now, but we still remember you.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
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83 Responses to My Father’s Plan

  1. What a wonderful post, Dan, and it must be very comforting to know this very strong man put in a plan to assist you in making a good life for yourself. I’m pretty sure your Dad is smiling down at how much you have accomplished and at the beautiful family you have. :-) Have a wonderful Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GP Cox says:

    Thanks for the look into your father’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Thank you Judy. He was proud of us both. He died too soon, but he lived long enough to see us both happy. The last time I saw him was at our wedding. He’s been gone / we’ve been married 33 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. bikerchick57 says:

    Your dad was a very special man, one who would fight for his children’s education and probably much more. Wonderful post, Dan. Happy Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marianallen says:

    Probably wasn’t comfortable at the time, having a father who held you to a standard that sometimes seemed too hard to achieve, but what a precious gift he gave you! My grandfather filled that role for me. Thanks for a lovely post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Marian. Parents are supposed to hold us to standards. I was used to that, although maybe not comfortable. I was surprised that he would enforce that on others. It was kinda cool to see my dad tell the Principal what was/wasn’t going to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. joannesisco says:

    Dan, you were so very lucky to have a dad who was such a champion for you …. someone who believed so strongly in you. I firmly believe that we rise – or fall – to other’s expectations of us. To have a dad whose expectations of you were so high was a formidable building block.

    From the short time I’ve been reading your blog, it sounds like he was a great role model for you as to what a dad should be, because you have been the same champion for your daughter <3

    Happy Father's Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thank you Joanne. I fought a few battles with school administrators and this particular lesson was always in the back of my mind. He offered a wonderful mix of encouragement and compassion. Sometimes they were both beneath the surface, but they were always there.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s a very nice tribute, Dan. Love the old photos. Happy Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A wonderful and loving tribute to your dad. Happy Fathers’ Day to you, Dan. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Prior-2001 says:

    what cool guy your dad was and I like this line the most – “Give him some of that stuff he doesn’t know.”
    come on teachers let’s sometimes go the extra mile instead of doing status quo….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks. At the time, I almost wet my pants. The realization that my father was signing me up for a home-based summer school program wasn’t my idea of fun. Still, he knew better than I did that, if I applied myself, I could do it. Of course, me being me, I only applied myself enough to get by :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior-2001 says:

        my nephew was just here – thirty now and said he wishes he could go back to high school to learn more and study harder….
        oh so many of us do the getting by stage – maybe a human thing?
        and I have heard about the kids with November or late October birthdays and how sometimes it is better to wait a bit… and my spouse was always the oldest in his class with a late fall b-day – and it did help him…

        Like

  10. quiall says:

    That was a wonderful testament to a wonderful man.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What wonderful, strong parents. I wish I had been in that room during that discussion about 4th or 5th grade! Most parents today don’t care if their kids learn anything at all, so long as they’re not home bothering mom (and dad, if there is one).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks. We had to battle the administration a few times on behalf of our daughter. School teachers and administrators may do their jobs well, but they don’t share everyone’s values and they aren’t always right.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. loisajay says:

    Such a great post, Dan. Your dad and mine were cut from the same cloth. My birthday is in December and when we moved, there was absolutely no discussion that I would be starting 2nd grade, in spite of the fact that I came from a public school and would now be starting parochial school. And for some reason it was always called ‘parochial’ and not Catholic school, which it was. Anyway, this brought back the memories. And Marty….kids have not changed. That is so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Lois. Your dad had guts. Standing up to the nuns in those days couldn’t have been easy. In most cases, parents know what is best for their kids. I’m not sure he knew it at the time, but my dad was also teaching me that you can question authority, and you should stand up for what you think is right.

      Marty was such a sad story, and I am saddened by the fact that, to such a large degree, kids haven’t changed. That means that a lot of today’s parents haven’t done their job.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. reocochran says:

    Happy Father’s Day, Dan. Living 33 years without your father seems like such a long time. Sorry to hear of this. You cover his positive characteristics well here.
    I am glad your father had the foresight to relocate you, although it was a difficult adjustment, especially for your brother, a 9th grader.
    My parents moved us only 3 times but when I had to start 8th grade in Bay Village, Ohio; I was more than a little upset. It worked out better, for all 3 of us, than if we had stayed in the other suburb. It was the year two of us would have gone 12 months in a half-day program while the new junior high got built. My Mom cringed or balked at the thought of my brother, Randy, being “let loose” for that upcoming year while she would be teaching at the next door Westlake High School. He was not likely to listen to a babysitter at this 7th grade age. She didnt worry about me, so much. I found new group of kids, the “nerds,” (was rather “popular” in the previous school system) I really became a better student and juggled four areas of groups. Thespians, journalism, band in many forms (orchestra, marching, pep and concert) and Science Club. I was a Girl Scout from brownies until senior First Class Scout. It was such a solid core of knowledge, too. Great school to attend.
    Thank you for sharing and I think you turned out to be a warm, motivated father, Dan! :)

    Like

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Robin. I eventually found a small group of friends who helped me get through that school system. I never felt comfortable and I’ve never been to a reunion, but I do appreciate the fact that I received a quality education. I also had a few teachers who really inspired me in the areas of writing and woodworking, so I’ll carry that with me as a benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. joey says:

    I always love reading about parents that must be an advocate for their children. Strange, but there are dividing lines in education — most are looking out for the best interest of the child, but some are more worried about their own level of comfort, or their stats. Kudos to your father for having a plan.
    I share the feeling of having gotten a superior education in a school I never felt I belonged. The Mister was the exact same way. But then, we’ve returned here, sending our kids to the same schools for the exact same reason our parents did.
    They were Army brats. Maybe we should ask them if they feel like they fit. But really, Does it matter? Education takes us places.
    Thanks for sharing your dad’s plan, and thanks for giving me some food for thought. There’s a teacher in you, Dan.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Joey. I do like teaching. I do some guest instruction in our high school and at a local university. It’s rewarding but I don’t think I could deal with the administration at either level. I have a serious/funny post on that subject. I should share that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • joey says:

        You should :)
        Believe it or not, I love admin work (cause I’m a bit of a drone) but in teaching, the admin has begun to take too much time. It’s much the reason I didn’t want to return to teaching.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dan Antion says:

          It always has seemed that the admin folks are too far removed from the kids and the mission. The principal when Faith started high school was wonderful and very much involved. The guy, who is the subject of that story, that she ended up with was a total waste of human flesh.

          Like

          • joey says:

            Oh that’s rotten. I hate stories like that.

            My girls had a terrible principal for a few years as well. Sissy for one year, two for Moo, but Sassy had her for three. I was SO pleased when she left. You know it’s bad when teachers, students AND parents can’t stand the woman. I am so grateful they had marvelous teachers to help mind the gap!

            Liked by 1 person

  15. C.E.Robinson says:

    Dan, a wonderful tribute to your father! School experiences stay with us forever, don’t they! Yours had a good outcome! Look what you accomplished! Education and hard work, the key! Happy Father’s Day! 💛 Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A touching tribute, Dan. Your Dad would be so proud of you (and I’m sure he was when he was alive.) My f-i-l was at both Omaha Beach on D-Day and in the Pacific, a whole world of experiences that he rarely talked about. A special generation, indeed.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  17. A heartwarming, and lovely tribute to your Father Dan. Happy Father’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Touching tribute to your dad, Dan. My dad has been gone 65 years and I still miss him as well. Happy father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. NickWAllen says:

    Everything happens for a reason Dan and I bet now you’re VERY happy your dad made those calls. A great tribute to a great man! Happy Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Nick. When I think back from here, of course, he changed the course of my life. I would have met an entire life’s worth of different people. Or, I guess I should think of it as he prevented a school administrator from changing the course of my life. In any case, it’s a conversation I’ll never forget.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Wendy Brydge says:

    A beautiful post, Dan. It actually choked me up a little at the end. Your school story reminds me so much of my dad, who was never afraid to give the teachers/principle a piece of his mind if they were teaching me something he didn’t think was right. It’s nice to know that you’ve always got someone in your corner, even if in your case, it’s now from behind the scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Wendy. I think you’re right. The comfort of knowing that he would be there if I needed him, always made me feel secure. I had to battle the administrators and a teacher or two when Faith as in school. Carrying on the tradition I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Dan Hen says:

    Wonderful tribute to your dad .], Dan . I was reminded of my experience in , I think , second grade , when the teacher suggested to my parents that I see a head-shrinker . ( true story — because I hardly spoke a word ) but my dad was having none of it .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Dan. I think our parents had confidence in what they knew of us. I wonder how most parents would react today. I read an article about people delaying their kid’s entry to school to try to give them an advantage in sports. Maybe they would hold me back, send you to the shrink and probably start both of us on a regimen of some drug. How far we’ve come :)

      Like

  22. Glynis Jolly says:

    I went to those better schools so I don’t have a clue as to what you were facing. I know that at my school, my 3rd grade teacher wanted to put me in “accelerated” classes. I guess I soaked up lessons like a sponge or something. My mom wouldn’t allow it. Being born in September, I was one of the younger kids. I lacked the confidence that many of the others had. My mom wanted me to grow more socially too. I stayed in the regular class getting A’s and learning how to make friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks for the comment, Glynis. I watched kids like you from the sidelines. Eventually, I made friends with a small group of kids. It wasn’t a grand success story, but I got through and I benefited from having graduated from that district.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glynis Jolly says:

        Psychologically, I might have been better off being held back a grade. I didn’t have a “best friend” until I was sixteen really. I had that friend I’ve mentioned in post when I was younger but she was almost two years older than me and I followed her around like a little puppy dog. That isn’t being best friends, I assure you.

        The schools I went to did help in college. I found homework easier to tackle, preparing for tests and doing research papers wasn’t something I struggled with. It was because of those better schools.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Your dad was right on all points. Don’t we hate that when they are right and we are only nine years old? Lovely homage to the most important man in your life. Hope your Father’s Day was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      He was Evelyne! It is hard to admit that your parents are/were right. Although he was very young when he died, I think we had had that thank you / proud of you conversation. I say think, ‘cuz guys.

      Like

  24. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I was so touched by your story, Dan. The sacrifices parents make at times blows my mind, all for the betterment of their children. Your Dad looks like a great guy, with a great Heart, and a good head on his shoulders. Sounds like he was a bit tough on you yet by pushing you, you succeeded. What a handsome man your father was …. And oh how I bet you miss him!!! Thanks for this beautiful memory story, dear friend. And happy belated Father’s Day to you!!!! <3

    Like

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Amy. He was tough, but he never once raised a hand to either of us. He yelled, and his language could tear paint off the walls, but never so much as a smack. He wanted us to work hard. He worked so hard that we had a good example. I share these stories ion Father’s Day and on days when one of his lessons comes to mind. I miss him every single day, but he’s never far in my memory.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        I’ve been really thinking about your comment, Dan. I am of the firm belief that in sharing our stories of our lives, we learn from each other, we think about our own lives, and we also get to know one another better. This is all good. I had a rough childhood and I finally had a good memory of my Dad the other evening. It felt so darn good!!! <3

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dan Antion says:

          I agree, Amy. I have tried several different things on my blog, but ultimately, I return to story telling on a regular basis. If nothing else, telling these stories forces me to reconsider them from a more objective point of view. Especially stories like this one, that, when viewed in the context of how things turned out, is quite different from the way it seemed at the time. I enjoy it. I think I’ll enjoy reading your stories as well.

          Liked by 1 person

          • AmyRose🌹 says:

            I’m learning to tell stories from a neutral yet loving perspective. I don’t want to share stories interlaced with anger or fear, yet many times, those stories I do tell hold those emotions. People need to hear uplifting, encouraging, wholesome stories written in such a way that yes fear and anger are mentioned, but, not dwelled upon. God really has been guiding me in this, Dan. And it is so empowering. <3

            Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh, now I am going to cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. You actually got me to tear up, Dan. The love your dad had for you and your brother shines through in the sacrifices he and your mom made to make sure you were successful. He clearly believed in you. Lovely photos too. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Paul says:

    This one really made me mist up, Dan. That’s part of the reason I couldn’t comment before today. I read it, and … I couldn’t comment. It made me think too much about my own father, who’s been gone since 2009, and who stood up for me and my brother quite often.

    He was the truest and dearest man I’ve ever known. I owe him so much. Really hurts now when Father’s Day rolls around and he’s not here to thank personally. But I know he’s still looking out for me, like all good fathers do.

    So here’s a toast to Dad, to Mr. Antion, and to all the other good fathers out there. You mean the world to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Paul. Despite all the fun and cool stuff we have on Father’s Day, I always start out a little sad knowing that I can’t sit and chat with my dad. He was such a strong influence on me, that I think of him often. I think about how he would handle things and whether he would be in agreement with my decisions. I feel like I am so much like him that it’s a given, but I always wonder. I guess the fact that it still hurts, means that they truly were great men. I’ll drink them :)

      Liked by 1 person

  28. sheldonk2014 says:

    Thank you Dan
    I can see by your story there some ……..
    To this story
    See you on the other side of creativity
    Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So wonderful to hear what an advocate your Dad was for your education, even if you may not have appreciated it at the time. I’ve found that I really only fully comprehended the sacrifices my parents made for us when I become a parent myself. A great tribute to your father.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. What a wonderful thing to share….it took me back to my folks and what they did to get my siblings and myself educated and prepared for life. It also took me back to my own three girls ( one late 20’s and 2 in early 30’s) and what my wife and I have done with the same goal in mind. Here’s to your Dad!! Awesome post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Peter Nena says:

    I still say you had one of the greatest dads in the world. God bless him.

    Liked by 1 person

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