Time Out: Remembering My Dad on Father’s Day

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”–Anne Sexton

Albert Allen Sackler
October 8, 1919-April 27,2012

The word serendipity usually conjures up images of inventors or scientists shouting “eureka” when they stumble upon some unexpected discovery.  But serendipity–the so-called happy accident–has its place in art and life as well. On this second father’s day without my beloved dad, here is a story of fond remembrance that might make you smile.

It was the fall of 1967 and my father had just installed some custom cabinetry in our large family den.  It was state of the art for the era: bookshelves, bar and a media center with a stereo and a color TV, the latter which he assembled himself from a Heathkit.  He was, after all, an electrical engineer.  What he never was, before or since, was an artist.  But he was about to become one for just a brief shining moment.

Overspray #1

The bar consisted of a fold down counter which revealed the spirits in the compartment behind it, and above it a cabinet with doors for glassware.  The doors had clear plexiglass window panels, which somehow did not suit my mother’s taste.  My father dutifully removed them to the basement, where he proceeded to spray paint them bright, solid colors.  He replaced the panels, and was prepared to discard the plywood square that had been the drop cloth for the paint job.   But our neighbor, physician and author Jack Shiller, just happened to stop by and call a halt to the demolition.

“Don’t throw that out!”  Dr. Shiller exclaimed


“Put a frame around it!”

He did.  And he entered it in a local art show.   And it won an honorable mention prize; boy, were the judges pissed when they found out the story behind it.

Serendipity or not, I’m glad he was my dad and will love him forever.

Happy Father’s Day to all.  Be sure to hug your dad if he’s still alive.


  1. Sweet. Reminds me of something my dad would do. Happy Fathers day to you too.

  2. I loved the Heathkit reference. My second husband also assembled his color TV from a Heathkit. I don’t think he looked at the instructions. Didn’t need to. I used to make a lot of my own clothes. He called those my “Heathkit clothes”. 🙂

  3. It’s my 2nd Father’s Day without my dad, too. It’s not any easier, but I have tons of happy memories.

  4. theyoungbanker says:

    I lost my grandmother back in April this year. I was very close to her and it was my first loss of a close relative. A great post and really emotionally inspiring.

    • Thank you…and my sympathies. I have lost more friends and family in the last 15 months or so, then the previous ten or more years combined. Writing helps deal with it. Comments from readers even more so.

  5. I like your father. Mine was a businessman who would have liked me to follow in his footsteps. When he retired he took up carving for the remainder of his life. I, on the other hand, was an artist for most of this time, during which time we didn’t see eye to eye most of the time. I found out to really be an artist you had to survive, so I learned how to make a business plan. We developed a short, but close relationship in the end. I miss him and find myself a better artist.

  6. Love the quote … and the story!

  7. Let’s hope our own kids remember us with such fondness.

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