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What my dad taught me

Today we recognise the fathers, stepfathers, the uncles and those not related by blood who have exerted influence. Staff at Catholic Media Services Limited shared anecdotes and memories of their fathers and father-figures.

Writer/Media Relations Officer Kaelanne Jordan, has been socialised by her dad Trevor to “never let the sun meet you in bed”. She said, “You get up; do your chores. You have to tidy the bed, and open your curtains to let some fresh air in. You do what you have to do. He always believed that you shouldn’t let clothes pile up, even if there is one item in the basket he will get like ‘no, no, no, we need to wash this’…”

Copy Editor/Writer Simone Delochan is like her dad Byron (deceased), a stickler for punctuality. “There was no such thing as arriving late for events. For my Confirmation at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando, we got there an hour early and I was the only person in church, in my white dress, with my parents waiting for everybody else to filter in, which they did about 45 minutes after.” The Delochans lived 15 minutes away from the church.

Advertising Officer Mary Pitman did not grow up with her father but older brothers Andy and Johnny were like surrogate fathers. “They really used to look out for me when I had school bazaar, they used to take me to town to buy outfits…”

As a child someone one day told her they were her half-brothers. “I never knew what that meant so when I raised it home, they said ‘that don’t exist in this house’. We have nothing like that. Growing up was really nice,” she said adding there were no barriers and she learnt the value of love.

Accounts Officer Charmaine Meloney said her late father Michael, encouraged his three daughters to attend Mass every Sunday. “He will come and say ‘I am not raising pigs, we going to church’…you had to go no matter what. You had to be real sick to miss church on a Sunday.”

Web/Social Media Officer Tshenelle Bethel-Peters recalled, “My father (Frank) always said ‘Allyuh is to grow up and come out better than me’ and he worked very hard to ensure that we did. I’d want to think that he is proud of all eight of us.”

Communications Officer Renée Smith said her dad never pressured his children about their academic performance. “Regardless of what I did in school he stressed the reason we were being educated was not just to be able to pass a test. This type of mentality has followed me straight to my adulthood. And has served in more ways than I can put into words.

“I came home once at the age of 10 or so with a C grade expecting to be scolded. My dad simply asked, ‘Did you give your best for the exams?’ I said, ‘Yes dad I did, not sure why the results show otherwise.’ He replied, ‘I could never be ‘vex’ with you for trying your best’.”

Editor Raymond Syms’ dad Alvin (deceased) was not one to express love verbally but showed it in other ways. “He never once beat us when we misbehaved as children; that was all mommy. He used a different tactic, most times talking to us, giving advice.”

One day Raymond and his brother Gerard were home alone and had a play cushion fight. “I lost, receiving a scratch above my eyebrow. I got vex and went for a butter knife. My brother laughed and said he’d tell mommy when she returned. He did. Licks passed for fighting and I got extra for threatening my brother with a knife. She said she’d tell daddy about our fight when he came from work.

“When he came in and was informed, he called my brother and I and said simply that his wide, thick, brown belt hanging outside their bedroom door had not been named. It would be named after the first one to be beaten with it. It was not named that day —or ever. After that talk, all he’d have to suggest when we misbehaved was finally naming the belt (laughs).”

General Manager Kathryn Tardieu’s father Kevin taught, “use everything to its absolute last. Then fix it with either epoxy or shoe goo and you can use it some more!”