The saddest thing about growing up is killing off your super heroes. Of course my super hero was my Dad. And soon after I started work I killed him dead, metaphorically that is.
He was my super hero because he adored my Mum, he had been a sportsmen in his youth and as a young man, and around the house he was always able to fix things. So there you have it a loving, sporty, wonder man. So he surely was my superhero.
He was very loving husband and probably drove all the other relations mad the way he hugged and kissed my Mum. Demonstrative love was not normal for working class people after the first bloom of marriage had worn off.
He played soccer for his works team, cricket for the town side and was a champion billiards player. He taught us boys the rudiments of many card games which was very useful at the family get togethers that occurred at Christmas time so we could compete well. He came out to referee a scratch match of football with local boys on the neighbourhood sports ground during the vacation period.
Above all he had a great sense of humour. I loved him.
When I got my first job, one of the perks was a yearly trip to London to attend a Building exhibition for architects, builders and other specialists to enable to keep up with the latest trends in the business.
After a trip there one year I thought I would call in to see him at his work place before I went home. I searched every depot that he was likely to be but his mates all gave the same excuse. "Oh he gone down to Fisher Street" or "He'll be at Conduit Street now."
I never caught up with him. And sadly instead of being able to go for a beer with him after work, I caught the train home alone, pondering about him. Later I found out that he had just taken a hour off work and gone home early. But as I sat in that railway carriage alone being whisked through the suburbs of London on a dark and dismal evening in November I thought about life, families and the future.
What I worked out was that I had been given a wonderful lesson in life. That small event of no consequence at first sight had set me free to be my own self. Already in my life I had travelled to France alone as a 16 year old. I was already well thought of at my new job. I even had a life and friends that didn't include my family but it was this very small event that somehow established me as an independent person.
What I discovered was that my father was not a superhero anymore, and he didn't need to be. He had done his job, taught me a lot and set some great examples and it was my job now to live up to them. If I made mistakes that was my responsibility from now on.
I do hope those characteristics in him that I so admired live on in me and that my children will also learn too, then break free to be superheroes to their children too.