Even thieves didn’t need my father’s raggedy outdated coat — and he was effective with that

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“There was a theft on the plant right this moment, “ my father informed us at dinner one very chilly winter day.

He not often talked about his job at Ford Motor Firm on Pulaski Highway so this was uncommon.

“Somebody stole everybody’s coat — besides mine,” he laughed. “Everybody else needed to exit within the chilly with no coat besides me.”

This was the Nineteen Fifties and I used to be just a bit lady, however I used to be sufficiently old to really feel disgrace. Even thieves didn’t need my father’s coat, which was a hand-me-down from my brother.

After my brother graduated from St. Bruno grammar college, he enrolled at St. Mel Excessive College and acquired a winter jacket with the college’s title on the again. It was what everybody did in 1953. However after one 12 months, he determined to switch to Gordon Tech to play soccer. There was no manner he may put on the St. Mel jacket to Gordon Tech.

My mom pulled off the St. Mel title from the again, however you can nonetheless see the place the letters was. It was such an excellent winter coat that my father began sporting it with St. Mel clearly seen on the again. It was a brief, bomber-style jacket and gave the impression to be on the mistaken individual, however I suppose it was higher than the pale blue jacket with the faux fur collar I bear in mind my father sporting 12 months after 12 months.

So I knew why a thief wouldn’t need the coat however I didn’t perceive why it didn’t upset my father.

As an grownup, I learn Nikolai Gogol’s quick story “The Overcoat,” a few man who’s socially remoted as a result of he’s judged by his look and particularly his threadbare coat however then he will get an exquisite new coat that adjustments his life and he turns into fashionable. I’m certain my father by no means learn this story however he intuitively knew the importance of it.

It didn’t matter to my father what sort of coat he wore; what mattered was what sort of coat his son wore. My father didn’t care {that a} thief had rejected his coat as a result of what was essential was that my brother was not judged by his attire.

Late in life, as a guardian myself, I found out that my father didn’t put on the coat with disgrace. He wore it with love.

My father, John Golec, was a form and mild man who by no means completed highschool and was doomed to low-paying manufacturing facility jobs for his whole life. However he was at all times pleased as a result of he spent his life doing what he needed to do: being a husband, a father, a brother, a pal, a neighbor, a co-worker. He has handed on however these of us who knew him had been blessed by his presence and I’m so very happy with my dad and the way he selected to dwell his life.

He had little formal schooling however he had so much to show me.

He confirmed me that I don’t should be wealthy or well-known or accomplish something grand. What issues is that I dwell every day as finest as I can, and I thank my father for instructing me this timeless lesson.

Gloria Golec is an emeritus professor of English at Faculty of DuPage.

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