Father knows best

Ancient television series brings back fond memories of childhood

My father wasn’t a Renaissance man. In fact, he rejected everything modern culture had to throw at him after 1963.

Dad’s favourite music was straight out of the 1930s. To his mind, popular music achieved perfection with the accordion, zither and opera stars of northern Europe. Every Sunday morning my brother and I would awaken to the pounding insistence of the Beer Barrel Polka or the screeching of a Prussian Prima Donna. If there’s a Guinness record for quickest scampering out of bed, wolfing down breakfast and escaping out the back door, my brother and I must share it.

Jay and I loved rock and roll. Dad detested it. So when I asked for an electric guitar, I was surprised when he seemed to agree.

“Yes, you should play an instrument.”

A few days later he arrived home with a fat, boxy suitcase. Instead of a sleek, sexy guitar, it contained a fat, boxy accordion.

“Aren’t you thrilled?” Dad beamed.

“Yeah, Ray,” my brother added dryly, “Think of all the great rock bands with accordions: The Stones, The Doors, The Beatles…”

“No Beatles,” dad interjected. “Polkas! You’ll be the most popular boy in school.”

If  dad was doctrinaire about music, he was positively apoplectic when it came to hippies. Like my friends, I wanted long hair, Beatle boots and bell-bottoms. What I got was a bowl cut, loafers and pants with cuffs so narrow, I’m surprised I didn’t get gangrene. With my size twelve feet I looked like a recruiting poster for Nerds Are Us.

The penultimate insult to my dad’s world view was the portrayal of fathers on television. The worst offender was All in The Family and its buffoonish Archie Bunker. Conversely, the quintessential example of good television was a show called, Father Knows Best. It debuted before I was born, but he felt it represented a better time when fathers were feared and respected.

“But, dad, don’t you like anything modern?” I’d ask. “Our teacher says we’re going to learn new math.”

“Nothing wrong with old math.” Dad replied, irritably.

“We’re also going to learn about birth control. Dad, do you believe in birth control?”

“Sure,” dad said. “Now.”

Recently, I got to thinking about the legendary Father Knows Best program and ordered some DVD’s from the library.

They were a revelation: Far from perfect. No one listened to their dad except for a few seconds at the end of the show.

Maybe I’m being nostalgic, but I wish dad could have watched those episodes with me. It would have done him good to know he was a better dad than his role model on TV.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cathy Stewart is currently the featured artist at the Qualicum Art and Supply Gallery, through the end of October. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Artist Cathy Stewart has paintings on display at two Qualicum Beach exhibits

‘With patience and determination you can do anything’

Jennifer Bate, executive director of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: A chat with Jennifer Bate of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre

Podcast: Discussion includes COVID-19 issues, singing in a rock band and more

(File photo)
Crime report: PQB thieves pilfer licence plates, televisions

Oceanside RCMP received a total of 308 complaints in one-week period

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

A screenshot from the virtual all-candidates meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. (SCREENSHOT)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates weigh in on forestry, tourism, LNG

For the first time ever, Alberni Valley Chamber hosted a virtual all-candidates’ meeting

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Most Read