Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Tribute to my Father by Julia Buckley

Julia Buckley is a Chicago area writer. Her first mystery, The Dark Backward, was released in June of 2006 and earned high praise from Crimespree and others; her next book, Madeline Mann, was lauded by Kirkus and The Library Journal.  It is now available for the first time on Kindle, as is as its sequel, Lovely, Dark and Deep

Her short story, “Motherly Instinct,” will appear in Anne Frasier’s Halloween Anthology Deadly Treats this fall.

Julia is a member of Sisters in Crime, MWA, and RWA.  She keeps a writer’s blog at on which she interviews fellow mystery writers; her website is  She is one of Poe’s Deadly Daughters, and posts weekly on their blog:

She is about to launch a new mystery series featuring an amateur sleuth and English teacher. 


by Julia Buckley

On August 11 my father will turn eighty. Once I would have thought that sounded ancient, like the age of a Biblical prophet.  My father has redefined the number for me, since he is youthful, energetic, and always on the run.  He has five adult children in their forties and fifties who still go to him with just about every question of household, garden, finance, philosophy, trivia, family lore.  He is a true patriarch, and I would like to use the blog space that Kaye has kindly given me to pay tribute to a remarkable man.

Anne Sexton once wrote "It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."  That's true to an extent, I suppose, since we all filter the truth through our own reality.  But I also think it matters very much who my father is, since he is a truly good person, and more than that--he is a noble person, in a world where we don't find a reason to use that word very often. 

My father is the son of Hungarian immigrants who was never given an easy way, and yet he never lost his good humor.  He grew up on a farm in Michigan that did not have running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity.  For many years he also did without television, radio, or an automobile.  He lost an older brother to scarlet fever when he was only a little boy, and then was cast into a lonely existence while his mother shrouded herself in grief and his father labored on the railroad. 

From the time he was eleven or twelve he always had jobs. He learned to work hard, and he learned to save (if only the gift of budgeting were hereditary!).

He went to Leo High School in Chicago and U of I when the campus was still at Navy Pier.  He was drafted into the army during the Korean War, but because he was one of few soldiers in his unit who spoke a foreign language he was sent to Europe on a troop ship.  Serendipitously he was stationed in Germany, where his pen-pal happened to live.  He arranged to meet her one day while he was on leave.  They almost passed each other when he got off the streetcar, but it's a good thing they both turned around and took a second look--she would eventually become his wife, and my mother.

My father has been a good and devoted husband for fifty years.  I have never known him to put himself before his wife or his five children.  He has always made the hard task of parenting seem effortless and natural, and I never wanted for anything as his child. 

The older I get, the more I love and appreciate my father for his history, his kindness, his wealth of knowledge, and his unswerving faith.  It matters who he is, both to me and to everyone he meets.

We are throwing him a giant party, but that’s the least of what we owe him for all that he has given to us.

Please celebrate my father (along with all wonderful fathers) with me this week!


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Julia, Welcome!! And thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your dad with us. I hope you'll wish him a happy birthday from me, please, along with a hug!


Vicki Lane said...

A wonderful tribute, Julia! No, 80 doesn't sound all that old any more...

Julia Buckley said...

I will do that, Kaye! Thanks for letting me celebrate him.

Vicki, both of my Dad's parents lived into their 90s, and based on my dad's energy, I can see him exceeding that. :)

Bobbi Mumm said...

Julia, your dad sounds great! You're lucky to have him. I'm interested in your books and will look for your work. Thanks for a great post!

Mason Canyon said...

Julia, what a wonderful tribute to your father. He sounds like an amazing man and just getting started good at 80. Hope y'all have a great party and he has many, many more birthdays.

Kaye, thanks for hosting Julia and her beautiful tribute.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Bobbi and Mason. I will pass on your kind words to my Dad.