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I suppose, over the years, that I have received a "Father's Day" card here and there. However, I really can not remember ever getting one. The first one that I can remember receiving was given to me my son, Roger. That was about ten years ago.

Most of the relationships that I was involved in, the step-children were always to small to buy me a card.

As I sit here today, I can honestly say that I have never purchased a "Father's Day card." I have never had a reason to ever purchase one. I do not have the slightest idea who my father was. That part of my life is a total blank. There are no memories of a "man" being in my life when I was a child. Of course, there are no memories of a "mother" being in my life either. Just the orphanage and the reform school.

I don't think it ever bothered me to have never had a mother and a father. I guess you have to know what it feels like to have parents before you can actually miss not having them. I don't think that actually having a mother and a father is really that important. That aspect is not a matter of life or death. It's true that parents can teach, and instill in you is the important part of having a mother and a father.

Just this second, as I am typing, I am trying to remember exactly when I became a "father". Oh, I remember when I had kids, but I have never thought of that part as being a real father.

My first two children, James and Kevin, were taken by their mother. She hid them from me for almost fourteen years. I did not have any contact with them until I hunted them down after they had became teenagers. My third child, Twila-age 2, moved to Canada with my ex-wife, who married a lawyer, and I was not allowed to visit with her until she turned 21. Then my fourth child, Roger, was born.

Roger Jr. has lived with me his entire childhood. He is now married and has two children of his own. He and his wife live next door to Judy and I.

It is very difficult for me to decide if I was a good father or not. For many years I did not know what being a "father" really meant, or exactly what it involved. To me; in order to be a "father" all you have to do is have kids and then you raise them. That is all that there is to it. You work to supply a home,food, clothing and education. You make sure that they brush their teeth and that they do their home-work. In between those times you try and teach them the difference between "right" and "wrong" and how to protect themselves. All that I could really teach my children was what the orphanage had taught me, which was very little. I could only teach them what had been placed inside my head and that is exactly what I did.

In spite of my abusive past I can honestly say that I never beat my children. In fact I cannot remember ever laying a hand on one of them. I cannot even remember one spanking. Of course I had a mouth on me that could be heard for blocks. But even then I never cursed or degraded my children.

Even though I never made a lot of money, I always took the kids swimming, fishing, boating and camping. They always had stereos and video games to play. Even computers when they finally came out. They always had nice clothes and the latest up-to-date shoes to wear to school. We joked with each other and we played around by hitting each other on the arm, or pinching each other's leg until it hurt. We worked together on building our home as well as on wood-working projects. Something we still do together, even to this day.

But even with all that I am not sure if I was a good father. I rarely ever hugged any of my children. I never sat on the side of their beds and read them a bedtime story. I am not even sure if I ever spoke the words "I love you" to any of them. I am not even sure if I knew what those words meant or how love even played into the game of being a father.

I now watch my son as he takes my grandchildren swimming, fishing, boating and camping. I watch very closely as he buys them computers, toys and nice shoes to wear to school. I watch the loving look on his face when he comes home from work everyday and sees his children. I can see how much he loves his children when he chases them around the yard, or around the living-room. I know that he loves his children very much. But I cannot recall him telling them that he "loves" them. When he starts doing that then I guess I can decide whether I was a good father or not.

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