- Family and Parenting
Bedtime Stories From My Father Were True Life Stories
James Earl Jones’ Voice
Michael Clarke Duncan’s Voice
When I was a little girl my favorite thing in the world was spending time with my dad. I was after all a daddy’s girl. I believe that this was due to the fact that my mother had to go to work early (before I woke up in the morning) and my father had a later schedule. So my dad would get me ready for school in the morning doing my hair, getting me dressed and sometimes taking me to the park before school. We had a lot of great times together; feeding the ducks at the Berkeley Marina, flying kites in the field across from our house and simply hanging out together.
Although these times were great probably my most clear memories were the stories my dad told every night before I went to bed. He did not read me books before bed; instead he would tell me stories. This would inevitably put me to sleep quickly for two simple facts the first being that since he was not reading to me the lights could be off and second because my father has an extremely deep voice close in sound to that of James Earl Jones or Michael Clarke Duncan his low toned voice would lull me to sleep. My dad often gets compliments on his voice because it is so deep and soothing. There have been several wrong number calls to my parents house that have ended up being long drawn out conversations because the person on the other end was drawn in by my fathers voice. When I was in college it was funny when my roommates answered calls from my dad because oftentimes my roommates thought that it was the police or that I was in trouble with the law because of my dad’s authoritative voice. I truly believe that it was his voice that made the story-telling that much better. My father speaks very slow and clearly enunciating each and every word this combined with the deep and melodic sound of his voice made it that much more interesting to listen not to mention the content of the stories themselves.
The stories that my dad told were never the same but they were always interesting. These stories were about his life, snippets of the times gone by. He would tell me about growing up, being a kid and getting into trouble (he was kind of a bad boy when he was little). He would tell me about things that he did like hopping trains and getting into trouble. He also told me stories about my grandmother and grandfather and the struggles that they had but no matter how bad the story was it was never scary only romantic in the way that he told it. Even though they were stories about people that I knew and loved it was almost like these stories made these people even bigger and greater than they truly were. They became like superheroes and stars in their own right. In these stories I learned the history of my family on my father’s side. I learned about my great grandparents who died before I was born. I learned about how they met and their children. I learned about how many grandfather and grandmother moved from Mississippi to Oklahoma and finally to California. I learned about the life experiences that happened when family members were born or passed away. I learned about the crazy family members (come on we all have at least one or two in our family). I learned about the famous or infamous family members. I learned about my father’s birth and am still amazed by the story and that my grandmother still wanted to have more children after him. I learned about my father’s strengths and weaknesses; the good, the bad and the ugly. It was all there in the stories and every night I would want to hear more and more. There was always something different he could tell simply because of the life that he had lead.
Looking back I truly miss those times of falling to sleep listening to my father tell me about his life. This was an important part of my learning and growing. Of course my father still tells me stories and I still love to listen to them, I even get my grandmother involved when I call her nothing like hearing at least one of her stories each time I call. These stories that my father shared with me were better than any book that I could have ever listened to because they were real they were about my family and they were about my history.