My father, Bill Gardner (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gardner-5486 ) was not a particularly good father, but he was a brilliant
and interesting person. He was born in Pasadena, Calif. His father was an electrical contractor, who installed wiring on navy vessels in San Pedro Harbor. When he was young, the family went back to Colorado, where his father was born, to help on the sheep ranch when his grandfather became ill. They lived there for a couple of years. After his grandfather died, the family moved back to Pasadena.
Bill grew up attending Lake Avenue Congregational church. He and his brother both went to public school in Pasadena through Jr. College, then went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, and a teaching credential. He married my mother, who he knew from both Lake Avenue Church, and Westmont College, and after the wedding announced to her that he was an atheist and would never set foot in a church again. Surprise!
My father taught 5th and 6th grade, in Santa Barbara, for a few years, then got tired of teaching and quit. He got an entry position in a research laboratory, having no background or education in the profession. He liked the job, and, learning on the job, worked his way up, eventually buying the business when the owner retired.
When I was a child, my father often came up with interesting projects, like making lampshades by covering balloons with tissue paper dipped in dilute white glue, and inlaying loops of string for a pattern. He would bring home pictures of bugs he took with the scanning electron microscope at his work. He showed us how to compose a curve out of a lot of straight lines, and how to make moebius strips. The juncture of art and science was something he really enjoyed. He also taught us how to stand on our heads, and do the frog stand and the alligator stand.
He would take me to work with him sometimes on weekends, and I'd get to help him develop family photos in the darkroom. He would boast to his friends about how smart and precocious his daughter was. I really liked him when I was a child; he was a lot of fun.
On the other hand, being human, he had his failings, and was not good at the aspects of responsibility, good sense and moral example that are important to fatherhood. My father made it no secret that I was his favorite child, and was very hard on and often mean to my little brother. The ways in which he was not a good father to me were mostly through negligence and poor sense, and through being a bad example. When he took me to work with him, if the x-ray diffraction machine was on, I was supposed to remember to duck when I crossed the part of the office where the x-ray beam shot across, but I often forgot. When I was fairly small, and before I learned to swim, he took me out in the ocean up to his chest. A wave came along and broke over his head, pulling me out of his hands. He was able to find me and catch me again, but it was very scary, and it made me quite wary of deep water for a long time. My mother did make me take swimming lessons when I was 7 or so, and I did learn to swim, but not well, and it's not something I really enjoy.
I was born in 1959, so the 60's were my formative years. Though my
parents were married and lived together until 1969, my father
definitely embraced the free love movement throughout the mid-sixties and into the seventies. He usually had a girlfriend or several, and he would take my brother and I to meet them, and would invite them home to dinner (with my mother, while they were still married), sometimes. Being raised with that as an example made it difficult for me to appreciate monogamous relationships until I was well into my 30's. Of course, I suppose the up side was that I was not the jealous sort, and was not so badly hurt when boyfriends were "unfaithful".