I’m sure you know the story of “Beauty and the Beast.” But what you probably don’t know is… I’m their son.
No, I don’t mean the couple in the children’s story. But, it would have been perfectly appropriate to call my parents Beauty and the Beast because that’s the way they talked about themselves.
Pat teaching his dad Jack a thing or two, age 5.
You see, before my father and mother met and went into the entertainment business, my dad was a prizefighter — a professional boxer with over 90 fights. Back in those days, they didn’t check personal information very carefully, so he was able to get into the fight game when he was 14 years old.
He had a pretty impressive record too, but it was at the expense of his face — layers of scar tissue that built up on his brow, a nose broken so many times it spread in multiple directions. How he ever heard anything through the tiny pinholes of his “Cauliflower” ears is a wonder.
And then there was my mom, The Beauty. She was the essence of the song “Tiny Dancer.” Mom was a petite ballerina, a tap dancer, a skilled acrobat. READ MORE
For many years, I was a little sad and wistful whenever Father’s Day rolled around because inevitably, there was some article in the newspaper that celebrated a bunch of dads doing ordinary things for their families every day.
Pam and her dad, 1992
My dad was sort of ordinary, at least for a while. He built ice rinks in the backyard and burned piles of leaves in the street (back when it was legal) with a fearlessness usually reserved for Tom Cruise action movies. For a few years, that same bravado turned him into a star salesman, one who traveled and sold the type of stuff surgeons used in the operating room.
After my parents divorced when I was 12, he turned into the kind of dad who’d drop in now and then, with a showman’s flourish, then leave for months, or later, years without ever contacting us.
My mother raised us — three kids — alone.READ MORE
In 1960, I was just 12. Remember The Christmas Story? Little Ralphie. The Red Ryder BB Gun? I was obsessed. I had to have one. Grand visions of hunting with Chubby, my dad. One problem … it was July. Christmas was six months away.
I consulted the big man about it. “Well,” Dad said, “Aaron could use some help at the office. Let me see what I can do.”
Aaron “Meticulosity” Greenlee
Aaron was a gentleman in his 60’s. The custodian. The comedian. Cracking jokes with the agents. Everyone loved Aaron. His “office”? A plywood enclosure in the basement. His black metal desk… meticulous. Pens and pencils lined up like soldiers. The surface — polished to perfection.
Dad’s real estate office had cherry wood paneling and mahogany desks. So my first assignment from Aaron — wood polishing. I worked the entire morning. Polished every square inch of that wood. Aaron would be impressed. He would tell Chubby. A bonus for sure!
Three generations: Josh (red shirt), his dad, and his son Noah (who will be 16 next month).
Robert Linkner was one strange dude. He forged his own path as he journeyed from hippie to psychologist to retailer to financial planner. He had a hilarious, dark sense of humor, was an incredible chef and had a series of oddball hobbies. He took pride that his tastes in music, travel, food, and life were always a bit different than the average Joe. His life ended far too early when we lost him to cancer in 2007.
It’s natural to miss your dad on Father’s Day, but this year I began to reflect on the lessons he taught me. Sometimes mysterious in his ways, I now realize he was quite deliberate as he instilled his philosophies in my sister, brother, and me. His wisdom has shaped who I am today, and there’s much to learn from his irreverent, non-traditional approach.READ MORE
Sometimes in life, the one we call Dad isn’t our real father. For me, “Dad” was my grandfather, Sam Solomon. He was my greatest role model, a trusted confidant, and my best friend. He taught me by his example many lessons about fatherhood.
Sam and his older brother Joe owned a chain of pharmacies in Chicago, during prohibition and through the 40’s, known as Solomon Bros. Drug Stores. Officially retired at 45, his work was far from complete. He went on to serve as a volunteer pharmacist for an additional 45 years. A man of great humility — he kept just one nice suit for special occasions. READ MORE
My dad’s nickname was Chubby. I never knew why though, he was so fit and trim. “A name he picked up in the Air Force during the war,” Mom said. I asked him once… “I had that name before I knew I had it!” he laughed. “My old war buddies stuck me with it. I still have no idea why. I mean, look at me!”
After the war, Chubby came back home to Cincinnati. Married mom. Had me and my sister, Linda. Many of those war buddies came home too, and they needed to buy homes. Dad saw an opportunity.
Dad’s Incredible Toaster Plan
A short exam. A fifty-cent fee. He picked up his real estate license at the local apothecary (how times have changed). The Harold W. Hague Company was born.
Dad worked incessantly. His company flourished. Most clients needed loans to buy homes. He saw another opportunity.
Dad founded Columbia Savings and Loan. Rented a small building right across the street from his real estate office. In those days, a savings & loan earned a profit the old fashioned way — by accepting deposits, then making loans from those deposits. Dad needed deposits.