Remembering You Dad

My Dad and me
My Dad and me | Source

Norman Francis Varden

Born in 1919, August 11th

In Montreal, Quebec

Died May 16th, 2007 (87)

Ottawa, Ontario


He was a friend to others

Just a man to some

To me he was my hero

My father, my dad,

Grandfather to my sons


A markerd'orleans, Montreal, Quebec -
Avenue d'Orléans, Montreal, QC, Canada
[get directions]

He passed away in May of 2007

It was his time to go, up to heaven

I think of him often

Throughout everyday

Missing him dearly

In so many ways


When I look back at the challenges he faced

Of raising me on his own

I have to admire him, as he could have said no

Couples had asked to adopt me

When my mother died

But he would not hear of this

He kept me by his side


Norman F. Varden (Stoker Petty Officer)
Norman F. Varden (Stoker Petty Officer) | Source

Joined the Royal Canadian Navy

At the age twenty-one

His parents were proud

Of their middle son

We had our share of ups and downs

As many families do

Today I write this Poem Dad

To say, how proud I am of you


For raising me, as you did

At times, not an easy task

For all the love and care you gave

Rescuing me from harm

In oh so many ways

I have to thank you today



I hope that you can read this

From the heavens above

I know that you watch over me

I can still feel your love


Fought in World War II

Enlisted as a Stoker

In 1941

Serving on the Drumheller,

Stadacona, Cornwallis,

And a few other ones too

They were corvettes and minesweepers

Served until the end of World War II

Medals Include:

1935-45 Star

Atlantic Star

C.V.S.M. and Clasp

War Metal



I’ll always be your little girl

No matter what I do

I miss you Dad

I’ll always love you




Dad served on a ship called "The Orillia", in 1944, and by then he was a Petty Officer. The funny thing was in 1990 my family and I moved to Orillia. Dad never mentioned the names of the ships that he served on, but one would think that he would have made reference to The Orillia when he heard that I was moving there. A few years after he had died I was in the Legion with my mother-in-law having a beer. I spotted a picture on the wall and low and behold my dad was in the picture, standing aboard "The Orillia", with his shipmates . Shortly after that I sent to Ottawa for his personnel records, and "HMCS The Orillia". was listed as one of the many ships he’d served on.

Dad is on the bottom row 2nd from the right. HMCS The Orillia
Dad is on the bottom row 2nd from the right. HMCS The Orillia | Source

Dad was a choir boy and had a beautiful voice. I, as well as many other people thought that he would have done really well if he’d pursued a singing career. He liked all types of music, and I remember when I was growing up, my friends loved the fact that he would never ask us to turn our music down when they would come by for a visit. It didn't matter to him, unless of course he was watching one of his favorite shows on TV, such as Star Trek or an old western movie. I've included a video here, “Over The Rainbow”, a song that he used to sing all the time. This song brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it.

Thank you for reading this tribute to my father. It is a long time over due. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

© 2011 Susan Zutautas

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Comments 84 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 19 months ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks so much Randi!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 19 months ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks Bill! The last 8 years have just flown by. Some days I still think I can pick up the phone and call him.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 19 months ago from Mesa, AZ

Thank you so much for sharing this. What a great man your father was. I do admire him raising you alone!

My dad was also in WWII. I lost him on 2000. He was 76.

A beautiful tribute! Up++


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I guess I missed this beautiful tribute first time around, so I'm glad you put it on Facebook!

My own dad has been gone 16 years now.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks so much BK


Bk42author profile image

Bk42author 2 years ago from New York

Love this! Your dad sounds like he was such a wonderful, brave man. My condolences to you.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Paula, Stephanie, Susan, and Kathryn, Sorry for not replying sooner. Thanks all!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Susan.....A wonderful, heart-warming tribute from a devoted daughter to her Hero Dad......So very moving, Susan.....I'm wiping away my tears....We will always miss our precious fathers. Peace, Paula ++++


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

What a lovely and touching tribute to your Dad. Your poem clearly shows what a close and loving relationship you had with him...you were both lucky to have each other. I loved the photographs, too!


Susan Sproull 2 years ago

Hi Susan

What a beautiful, loving heartfelt tribute to your dad. What a cool man he must have been to not ask you to turn the music down.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 2 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is such a beautiful tribute to your father, and such a touching story to share with us. I am sure he sees this, and that he is proud of you.

Susan, I hope you're ding well. I haven't been on HP much lately, but I figured I would drop in and say hi. It's always a pleasure to read your articles.

~ Kathryn


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

vespawoolf, Thank you so much!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

This is a beautiful tribute to your dad. The fact that he wanted to raise you on his own proves what a wonderful heart he had and that he loved you very much. He really was a hero. I love the photos you included...thanks so much for sharing!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank you Peg. Today is a sad day for me as it's the anniversary of his death. So many good memories to focus on especially today.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Susan, I loved this tribute to your wonderful Dad and the memories you shared of his courage and determination are a lesson to all of us. What a blessing that he did whatever it took to take care of you and raise you despite the negative influences he faced. He was a hero in many senses of the word. The picture of the two of you at the top is awesome and his Petty Officer pic is charmingly handsome.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Tim, Dad worked for Canadair (was an Aircraft Manufacturer) in Ville St. Laurent, which is in Quebec. They were laying people off and he was soon to be let go himself. To make a long story short he ended up getting a job at Lockheed (Palmdale) and then at Boeing in Seattle.


tsmog profile image

tsmog 3 years ago from Escondido, CA

Hello Susan. I don't how the sharing got to here, yet I appreciate with honor the sharing of your dad. The poem is magnificent, enough said. I do have one question, though I may be getting memories mixed up. How did you get to Quartz Hill? I know Boeing is out there and other aeronautical businesses. Not being personal, really just checking my memory - giggle.

Mitch or Tim


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks again monisays2u


monisays2u profile image

monisays2u 3 years ago from India

Thanks Just Ask Susan for replying

Forgot to write that I will be waiting for your next poems.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

monisays2u, Thank you so much for reading and for the beautiful comments.


monisays2u profile image

monisays2u 3 years ago from India

Exceptionally well written..more than just a poem....It just cross boundaries and touched the heart...

Thanks for the awesome poem.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Mekenzie, Thank you, so glad that you enjoyed the poem. Lately I've been missing him so much.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan

Hi Susan, your poem is precious. Your Dad was so special and his decision to keep you with him reveals his heart of love and deep devotion to you. A true man of honor.

Touched my heart. Beautifully written - Voted Up +++

Mekenzie


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

rajan, Thank you so much and Happy New Year.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Beautiful tribute Susan. Parents are always missed and I'm sure your dad must be proud of you looking down on you from up there.

Voted up and beautiful.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Peggy, Sorry to read that you're Dad was so young when he died. Thank you for stopping by to read this tribute to my Dad and for your lovely comments.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Susan,

The love that you have for your Dad shines through your words about him. He is undoubtedly looking down upon you with pride in his heart. I lost my dad when he was only 55. He also served in WW2 as a paratrooper in the European theater of war. He was honest and came from the old school when a man's word or handshake was as good as any legal contract. He was a good man as was your father. We can both be proud of our Dads. Thanks for sharing the story of your Dad. I know you miss him as I miss mine.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Audra and Steph, Thank you both.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Simply amazing and beautiful! Such a wonderful tribute to your Dad - brave and strong in many ways. All the best, Steph


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

What a lovely and special tribute to you Dad! I am sure he is singing beautifully to you from heaven :)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Golfgal, Thank you :)


Golfgal profile image

Golfgal 4 years ago from McKinney, Texas

whoa, it took about five minutes to page down to leave a comment LOL. The tribute to your father was so awesome. Thanks for sharing your heart. Enjoy your memories today.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thank you DearBandit.


DearBandit profile image

DearBandit 4 years ago

What a really respectable tribute to your father. If you would like to, it would be good if you write about your memories of your father. You do not have to write it on Hubpages. You could even just write it to yourself.

You story is very touching but also it shows that you loved each other!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks Vicki and tilsontitan, I really miss him especially around Father's Day.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Your Dad was a hero in so many ways as you've shown through your poem and write up after the poem.

How lucky some of us are to have had wonderful Dad's can not only to be proud of but remember with love.

Voted up, beautiful and awesome.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Beautiful, Susan. I love it. I'm sure your dad does, too. What a great man!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Sharyn, Thank you. I am so happy to have so many wonderful loving memories of him to carry with me.


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Such a beautiful tribute Susan to your father. I loved learning the additional information as well. No doubt he is proud of you.

Sharyn


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Deborah, Sorry to make you cry, but glad that you enjoyed it. Thank you.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

This is awesome... I voted up up up ...beautiful... Like your dad my dad is a hero. He served 21 years in the Army.. He fought in Korea when I was a baby and two terms in Vietnam..I really love your poem... Made me cry...


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

CloudExplorer, Thank you for letting me know that my poem motivated you to write your 10 mile hub. I appreciate it.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 5 years ago from New York City

Your Poem actually motivated me to write the 10 miles hub you just recently commented on, thanks Just Ask Susan for the feedback there. I'm off to reading another of yours, cant wait to do so your definitely an inspirational writer.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

CloudExplorer, Yes my Dad was a great inspiration to me. I had thought of joining the Navy myself at one time. I am so glad that you like the poem.

Very nice to meet you too, and thank you very much.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 5 years ago from New York City

I love the flow of this poem, I too am a veteran of the US Navy, so I fully understand his honorary commitment to the armed forces of his country & his duty to uphold freedom. Your father must have been a great inspiration to you.

I wish you luck on your voyages on the web, and I'm proud to have met someone of your stature. To be a child of a veteran such as your dad means a great deal. Voted up as beautiful. Such a lovely poem.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

arusho, Thank you.


arusho profile image

arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

Ver moving, great job!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

acaetnna, Thank you :)


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Beautiful. What a hero he was and what a wonderful tribute to him.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Bijja, Thank you, I appreciate you reading this and leaving such a nice comment.


Bijja profile image

Bijja 5 years ago from India

A great tribute to your father!

Nice poem.

I love these lines:

"I know that you watch over me

I can still feel your love"


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

habee, Very lucky. Thank you, and I am going to go and read yours about your dad. If I can find it, you have a lot of Hubs :)


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia

What a sweet, wonderful tribute to your father! I wrote one about my dad, too. Aren't we lucky to have had such fathers? Voted up!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Sue, Thanks so much.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Susan

This is such a beautiful and touching tribute to your dad; your hero.

Voted up up and away!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Kathy, Thank you.

Ercolano, Thanks for your comments especially ('), I appreciate that.

MM, Thank you so much.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

A beautiful poem that moved me to tears and a wonderful tribute to your father.

Somehow I know your father will read this and be so very proud of you.


Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

Yes your love shines though in this, and great photos. I found it poignant, in some ways, that he should never have mentioned the ships he served on, especially the Orrilia. What a surprise to find the photograph in the Legion, but it makes me wonder a lot why he never mentioned it. Just me, a deep thinker that way. Now, if I knew who your dad was, I might ask him to take that apostrophe out of 'heaven's', cos it just clouds his otherwise sunny sky up there where it is. LOL Lovely mark of respect for your dad.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

What a wonderful tribute to your Dad Susan. I think it is important, especially as we go on to raise our own kids, to give them credit for parenting us and doing the best they could...Not always an easy task either. He did a good job! Very inspiring!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

masmasika, Thank you, I think he is.

Ruby, He was a hunk in his day :) Thank you.

emichael, Thank you so much!


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

This is a fantastic tribute, Susan. The love is tangible. And I have to say, I am a big fan of that song. It gets stuck in my head every so often, randomly.

Again, very good hub here.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Beautiful Susan. You had a handsome Father. I'm sure he is smiling..Thank you...


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

That is so wild! I loved that dream....wish I could have another one...it was like a quick happy visit:) I hope you have another tonight!


masmasika 5 years ago

Great hub. Your father is a hero.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

drbj, Thank you.

RH, Had a dream like that about my mother telling me everything was going to turn out okay. I had just moved to Toronto at the time and was getting exasperated looking for a job. Within three days I got a job :)

katrinasui & Barry, Thank you for reading and commenting.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

Thank's for sharing this ! :)


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

Beautiful poem Susan! You have done a great job here.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Susan - or have you had a vivid dream that is so real? I had this technicolor - surround sound dream where I was driving to work - on highway 270 - I looked over and the major was sitting in the passenger seat right next to me! He had a huge smile and he said, "you're doing really good things with your life kid". Then he evaporated - but I've been happy so many times when I think about that dream. If anyone could reincarnated themselves to send a message - he would do it! Lol


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This is a lovely tribute to your father. He was a loving, wonderful dad. You do bear a strong resemblance to him, Susan, inside as well as out. Voted up.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

RH, There are times when I will be doing something and all of a sudden my dad's voice comes to me (in my head not out loud) with something he said to me years ago and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy:) Thank you and glad that this brought back some nice memories of the Major for you.

Melvoy, There was another thing in his records that I rec'd that I did not include above. When my Dad left the navy he wanted to pursue a career in the Police force. He never once mentioned this to me. Funny how you find certain things out. I am glad though that you are able to ask your father questions. Wish I would've done the same when I had the chance to.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

K9, I love your poem! I don't mind you adding a link at all and really appreciate it. Thank you so much for everything! xxx


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Lisa, Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with your own father here. I hope that you write this story soon as I would love to read it.

Pixienot, So nice to see you, it's been awhile. Thank you for stopping by to have a read and for your really nice comments.

time2write, Thank you so much.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

How lovely to write a tribute to your dad. I found what you wrote about him being on the Orilla but never talking about it particularly moving. My father is still alive at 88, and has been battling cancer for 3 years. He has often talked about his times in WW2 but when I was younger I didn’t pay much attention. Now I ask to hear more of his stories, and we are hoping to get them recorded. It is amazing what that generation went through.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Susan - as I read this - it brought back lots of memories of the major:) I miss him too....I am so glad - and isn't it so strange - how you saw that picture of him on The Orilla? You'd have never seen it if not for that beer perhaps....wow! I'd say he was giving you a nice shout out!!

Up and everything.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

What a lovely tribute to your father, Susan. This little poem came to me as I enjoyed your introductory photo;

A girl and her dad are a powerful duo,

especially when he is her Canadian hero.

Recalling his smile and those masculine arms,

no other guy measures up to his big daddy charms.

We women treasure those men of our little girl youth,

a playful kiss on the cheek is a daughters salute.

I enjoyed ever bit of your work here, and am honored to have read it. I hope you don't mind, but I will be adding this link to one of my hubs. Thank you for a priceless bit of work.

HubHugs~

K9


time2rite 5 years ago

Susan, this is a beautiful tribute! It brought tears to my eyes and moved me deeply. I'm sure your dad was very moved too from his place in Heaven. Thank you for sharing this poem and tribute with us!


Pixienot profile image

Pixienot 5 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

Susan, let me chime in with the others. What an awesome tribute to your father and to the daughter he raised.

Well done, well written. I was born in 1944 and my father was in the Navy on the U S Wasp.

Thank you for such a wonderful, moving and inspiring story.

Voted up, awesome and beautiful.


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Susan, what a beautiful tribute to your father. I know what it's like to have that kind of father, so I know how fortunate you must feel to have had that kind of father.

How lucky you and your children were to have him as long as you did. I don't doubt that you don't need me to make that particular remark.

One of the subjects I've been thinking about writing about (in the form of a story - not a poem) is the way my own father refused to even think about allowing us to go into foster homes when my mother was hospitalized (for several months) for Tuberculosis. Knowing that my father worked and had three kids, including a baby son, to take care of; the doctor was emphatic (I was there) when she kept pointing out to my father that he didn't really have any options other than putting us into foster homes. He kept saying he wouldn't have that. The doctor kept saying, "Well, what are else are you going to do?" He told her he'd figure something out, and he did. It cost him most of his modest income; but at a time when we needed him (particularly since we couldn't be with our mother) most, he made sure we wouldn't be separated from him, as well as our mother.

A whole lot of people aren't fortunate enough to have had "one of those kinds of fathers", so when we have it's reason to feel particularly grateful and want to honor them.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Cardisa, Thank you.

Rebecca, My Dad never wanted a funeral even though he knew I objected to this but followed his wishes. I would love to read the poem that you wrote for your Dad. Thank you.

James, Thank you.

Cags, Sorry that you lost your father at such a young age. Memories to hold dear to our hearts. Thank you.

Hyphenbird, I know what you mean about feeling like an orphan. He'd been there for most of my life, so I am grateful for that. Thank you so much.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Oh Susan. I just know your dad is so proud of you and honored. You have "done him proud". And the additional information about his military history is so interesting.

It is a fact that we never stop missing them. After my mom and dad passed on, I felt like an orphan though I was middle aged. Your heart shows beautifully in this tribute to you wonderful father.


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Hey Susan, a very nice tribute to your father. Please accept my condolences even though they are far into the future. I lost my father when I was 17 years old, so I know what it's like to feel that loss. We always have memories that we can hold on to and cherish as though it was yesterday, but forgetting is something that will never happen. Thank you for sharing a part of you. :)


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Susan. After that song and your poetry I had to go wipe my eyes and blow my nose. Thank you, Susan

And that wonderful photo, too.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

That is beautiful Susan. I feel you. I lost my Dad in 1995 because of colon cancer.He was only 71. He too was a Veteran. I wrote a poem for him in 1993 and he requested that it be recited at his funeral. It was. And printed in the program. I know for sure your Dad knows all about your poem.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Susan, your dad was a hero. You are a wonderful daughter to write such a tribute to him. He must be proud of you looking down at your right now from heaven.

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