Category Archives: Father figures

My P.O.W. Dad – Father Finally Found

“If we know where we came from, we may better know where to go. If we know who we came from, we may better understand who we are.”


Today’s story is contributed by David Grieme.

There was something missing growing up, in childhood, in adolescence, as a man. I was missing a dad.

Superman and his brother

Superman (aka David) in Webster Groves, Missouri about 1962 with his brother Greg

Coaches. Professors. Fathers of close friends. There were many important men in my life, but no one really filled the gap my biological father left.

Dad left when I was ten, after my parents divorced. But really, he was “absent” all along. At home, detached and closed. My five siblings and I seemed invisible, an inconvenience. When asked about family history, our grandparents particularly, Dad refused to answer. We were forbidden, in fact, from asking.

And then Arnold “Arne” Böcker entered my life — the father of my wife. READ MORE 

Alvy & Me? We Only Lack Biology

“One of the biggest needs in our generation is for men to step into the lives of boys to train them, equip them, and cheer them on to grow up as they begin the process of ‘manning up’.”

—Dennis Rainey

Today’s story is from Melanie Jongsma.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines father as “a man who gives care or protection to someone.”

Groovy young family

Groovy young Jongsma family, 1970
(Melanie far right next to her dad Allen)

Care. Protection. Indeed. Real fathers are not a product of biological luck. True dads help and protect, no matter the bed they’ve slept.

It’s why men who step in can be great dads with no biology at all. Step dads. Granddads. Coaches. Teachers. Mentors. Each with a chance to change lives for the best.

Melanie Jongsma, our guest today, is a professional writer, editor, and wordsmith extraordinaire. In Melanie’s words, a snapshot of her dad, a father in every sense of the word. READ MORE 

B Positive

“Momma always said, ‘There’s only so much fortune a man really needs, and the rest is just for showing off…'”

—Forrest Gump

Today’s story is from David Hirsch.


Grandfather Sam Solomon with David (9 mo.), 1961

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 

400,000 Remarkable Dads

“I found my prince. His name is Daddy.”

by Greg Hague

Since 1997, the children of Illinois have written more than 400,000 essays about their dads. The subject is “What My Father Means to Me.” It’s part of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative’s annual Fatherhood Essay Contest.

My friend, David Hirsch, founded this project and was kind enough to allow Savvy Dad to share three of the best from the pen — or crayon — of three special kids, word for word.


“What My Father Means to Me”

From David, 1st Grade:

“My father is the most important man in my life. He was loving, caring, thoughtful and cool.
He had a lungs disease that made it hard to breathe. But that did not stop him.
He used to bring my sister and I to the park. He sat at my side while he helped me learn my ABC’s, count my 123, and teach me how to read. He used to call me Bud-Bud. READ MORE 

Conway Twitty’s Son Had Three Dads

“I’m often asked what it’s like to be Conway Twitty’s son.”

—Michael Twitty

Today’s story is from Michael Twitty.

Country music icon. Thousands of performances. Millions of fans. Folks look at me with pity or awe. Awe, because I’m a Twitty, after all. Pity, because everyone knows famous musicians don’t have much time for their kids. It’s true.


Young Michael with granddad Papaw

Meetings. Practices. Recording. Interviews. Touring. Dad was constantly on the road. I didn’t see him a lot growing up. It’s what he was. It’s what he was born to be.

But don’t feel sorry for me. Growing up, I had three dads — not one. Papaw (Dalton Floyd Jenkins), my granddad, he was a steamboat captain on the mighty Mississippi. My uncle Howard was also there for me. And Conway, my natural dad.

When Dad was on tour, he would call every day. But he arranged more than a chat on the line. When Dad was away, I had Uncle Howard and Papaw for play. READ MORE 

Left-handed Hammers? Trust Your Gut

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

—Benjamin Spock

by Brian Hague

I was lucky growing up. I had a really great dad. But there was another man who treated me like a son. His name was Gary.

dad's hammer

My other dad, Gary

Back in 1992, I was 14. Gary promised to help me build a new skateboard ramp. We were at Home Depot, buying wood and supplies. “Brian, go grab a left-handed hammer,” he said.

Left-handed hammer? Sounded funny. Didn’t Gary have a hammer? Well, maybe it broke. I scurried away. Left-handed hammer? Easy. Shouldn’t take long.    READ MORE 

My Uncle Greg Told Me A Family Secret

I didn’t have a dad growing up. Mom raised me, for the most part.

Today’s story is from Jason Fields.

I did have an uncle. His name was Greg. Uncle Greg taught me something special about me. It was 1981, another bleak, freezing Cincinnati winter.

A family secret

The ‘Panther’

My name is Jason. I was 5 at the time. The memory is vivid, even today. Standing in the Cincinnati Kmart.

Longingly gazing at the most beautiful thing I had ever seen…a jet-black Huffy “Panther” BMX bicycle.

Chrome spokes, riding pegs, trick handlebars, and “panther claw” grips! My heart pounded at the thought of riding this powerful steed.    READ MORE