On this date, in 1894, my father, Garner Corson, was born in Millville, N.J. It would take many posts to tell you his life’s story, but only one word to describe the man I called Dadden: devoted. He was a devoted husband, a devoted father, a devoted Christian, a devoted employee, and a devoted citizen.
It wasn’t always easy being my father. One day in junior high I came home crying because I got a 93 on a Latin quiz. “It’s okay. You can’t always get 100,” said my father. To this I stamped my foot and said “Yes, I can!”
What I remember most, though, is that my father was always ready to help me, whether it was collecting money for a March of Dimes contest or selling pencils, my Rainbow Girls project.
From Sundays at church where my father quieted his little girl with Necco wafers, to endless games of Monopoly on Sunday afternoons, to my first Boston Red Sox game, the memories are movies in my mind.
One small event is typical of his quiet support. I was pressing a dress I had just hemmed. We were in the kitchen, my father sitting by the end of the ironing board, chatting with me. The dress had a full skirt, and I was hurrying, so I tended to miss spots. My father said nothing but surreptitiously adjusted the dress on the board so I’d iron the spot.
My high school Latin teacher would give bonus points if you found certain words, derived from Latin, in print. My father was nearly beside himself when he found the word “mulct” in the Boston Globe, and I could take in the editorial, word underlined, for 50 bonus points. (By the way: mulct means deprive of by deceit and is derived from the Latin word mulcta meaning fine or penalty involving property.)
In college the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company sponsored a contest wherein the sorority that brought in the most empty Kent cigarette boxes would win a hi-fi set. My father scoured the streets of Boston for discarded Kent boxes and only stopped short of retrieving one from the third rail of the MTA in Union Station. “I think they turn the third rail off around 3 A.M. Maybe I’ll go down there then.” Needless to say, my sorority, AOPi, won the prize.
My mother told me, “Your father would crawl across the U.S. on his hands and knees if you just told him you loved him.” I think I did tell him but not often enough.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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