16 June 2014

Happy Father's Day

When I think about my dad, it's not my biological father that comes to mind. The man I call 'Daddy', Alfred Bruce Shepard, was my step-father. He raised me and loved me as if I were his biological child and I am forever grateful for it. When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I called him first - weeks before I told the rest of my family. He did not live to see Erica, his first granddaughter, though. He died of cancer two short months before her birth at the young age of 48.
Muriel Hazard Shepard, Alfred Bruce Shepard, and my mom sometime in the 1970s.
Shep, as he was called, was born on 6 August 1939. (Fifty years later, my second daughter, Morgan, was born on that same date.) He was born in Worcester, MA to Muriel Rebecca Hazard and Peter Shepard. He lived in Worcester for most of his life. He served in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves and spoke fluent Greek. He learned that language while serving in Greece although I only heard him speak it while ordering in the local Worcester pizza shops.

He loved to fish - I used to help clean the mackeral before he fried it up in the pan. He liked to cook and did it often. He worked in construction when we were young but eventually went to work as a guard at the local jail. We took long drives in the country nearly every Sunday and visited relatives every weekend. His favorite deep sea fishing spot was up in New Hampshire near Seabrook. And that's where my siblings and I sprinkled his ashes after he passed on 23 January 1988.
All of us in 1973.
Peter Shepard was born on 14 August 1910 in Coffeeville, Kansas to Anna Bell and Peter L. Shepard. He left Kansas as a young man and made his way to Chicago. At 19 years of age in 1930, he was working as a pin setter in a Chicago bowling alley. He enlisted in the US Army on 9 September 1942 and was discharged honorably on 8 February 1946. He settled back in Worcester with his wife and son and lived there until his death on 16 February 1967.
Peter Shepard
Muriel Rebecca Hazard was born in Worcester on 28 March 1919 to Ruth Ellen Dominis and Charles Sumner Hazard. She taught me how to crochet, how to cross-stitch and embroider, and how to make cookies. Knowing how to cross-stitch kept me sane through many trying years. From those tiny stitches grew my love for beading, quilting and nearly every piece of art I've ever created. She outlived both her husband and her only child - passing on 7 February 1995. I still have her cookbook with her hand-written recipes inside the covers. I still remember all those embroidered pillowcases and handkerchiefs.
Muriel Hazard Shepard
So Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and to all the moms who do double duty as dads. If you still have your dad with you, give him a kiss for me.

Aquene,
Cher


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