Grace Golden Clayton may have been inspired by Anna Jarvis' work to establish Mother's Day; two months prior, Jarvis had held a celebration for her dead mother in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away from Fairmont.
After Anna Jarvis' successful promotion of Mother's Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a "Father's Day" was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.
In 1910, a Father's Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the civil war veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis' Mother's Day in 1909 at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father's birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. Several local clergymen accepted the idea, and on June 19, 1910, the first Father's Day, "sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city."
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "[singling] out just one of our two parents". In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
By the mid-1980s, the Father's Council wrote that Father's Day has become a Second Christmas for all the men's gift-oriented industries."
I honestly can't really remember doing anything for my Daddy, Jim Blake, for Father's Day till I was married. Sadly, I only had a few years before he died. This man was my whole entire world from the moment we met. It was a snowy morning in Farmington, New Mexico, December 18, 1965, when Jim received a phone call that would change his life forever. The lady on the other end was from the Colorado Adoption Agency, calling from Denver, Colorado. She asked Jim if he was sitting down as they had a baby girl ready for adoption and would he and his wife like to fly up to take a look at her. Jim, the jokester that he was, ask her if she was pulling his leg as the snow had been falling all morning and the town was shut down. He told her yes and that he would call around for flights, getting back to her shortly with when they could be there. Jim and Jo Beth flew to Denver on December 19, and were all set to see the baby girl the next morning at the adoption agency.
Jim and Jo Beth arrived at 9am where they met with the case worker in her office to hear the specific of this baby girl. After a short amount of time, that Jim said he felt like it was forever, they were escorted to a door that led to the room where there was a crib containing a baby girl. They were told to go look at her, play with her and spend all the time needed to see if she would be a fit for them. Time was no matter they had all day and more meetings could be arranged.
The story I have been told my entire life was that my Daddy walked over, took one look at me, turned around and told the case worker to "get my daughter ready to go!" The lady asked if he was sure and he told her 100% sure. My Daddy had picked out my name, Sherry Anne, he had picked out my dress and ironed it for the trip home. Then, I am not sure about when they were actually able to leave Denver, if it was later that same day or the next. Regardless, he didn't let me out of his sight for long. Jo Beth was not able to stand or walk and carry me because of her sickly nature. During the airport stay before the flight home I needed my diaper changed. My Daddy said he found two stewardess that were going to the ladies room. He ask them if they could change me and of course they fell in love with me. He said he stood right outside that door and took me the moment they came out.
|some of our first moments together|
The adoption records I received enlightened me to why my Daddy was my whole world. He took care of me from day one and I was his whole world. As a small child of 4 or 5, Jim, had been left with his younger sister on the train tracks to die in East Texas. It was thought that he would never be placed with a family because he was so sick. When he was about 6 years old he was adopted by the Blake family and under their care he thrived. He told me many times that if he never was known for anything other than being my Daddy then he had done enough and that was his only plan to be on this earth.
Sadly, I never got a chance to say good bye to my Daddy. He was in ICU and went downhill in 24 hours after being taken off the vent he was on. He was doing good till his body had enough and just failed. I was pregnant with Wendy and we lived in Colorado Springs, which was an 8 hour drive. When we got the news that we need to come as fast as we could it was right during a Colorado blizzard. I had been praying the whole time that he would survive till I got there till I realized that the next day was his second wife's birthday. I then prayed that he would survive till the day after or that he would die that night, that I didn't have to say goodbye. As irony would have it, my beloved Daddy died while we were driving home at almost the exact moment of me giving up the fact that I did not have to make it home. The good Lord knew, at that time, I was not strong enough to see him in ICU with all the tubes and machines.
I went to the funeral home and my step mother's sister made me walk in and see my Daddy from a distance in the casket. He looking nothing like that same man we had left just 16 days before. My knees buckled and I grabbed the pew arm and immediately sat down. Of course with me being 7 months pregnant was a huge concern to everyone. I was fine, I just promised myself that I would never see that again and was not going to stay for the "family" viewing after the service. The day of the funeral it was the biggest snow storm Farmington, New Mexico had seen. It was so white and cold and the flakes were huge. My Daddy, because of later health issues, was not able to be out in the cold and snow. I thought to myself that it was a sign as he could be in any weather now. The girls did not go as they were too little and would never have understood.
So in death, as in life, you need to find humor in the situation. So, one necessary thing I forgot was my dress shoes, so Bill took me into town to get shoes prior to the funeral. The next event happened right at the end of the service. So picture if you will we are packed into the second row on the left side of the chapel and I am the third person in from the aisle and the fifth or sixth person from the outer aisle. The service was over and the director misunderstood what we had asked him to do. There was not supposed to be a public viewing at the end so imagine my shocked thoughts as the men began to move the flowers to raise the lid. I absolutely panicked and had to leave right now. I could not get out fast enough and I was so afraid I would see what I didn't want too. I stood up and I leapt over the five or so people to get to the outer aisle and ran out of the chapel. I never looked back. Of course as people came out they all wanted to know if I was okay as I had made quite the show at the end. It is not every day you see a pregnant women do a superman impression.
|10th birthday, Easter, 1986-Jenn|
My Daddy was the first and at the time the most significant death of my life. It had really just been me and my Daddy for so long I was lost without him. I have spent 27 Father's Day's without him and that is just too many. I was too young and my girls were too young not to have Jim in our world. One of the most amazing things was that Heather was 2 at the time of her Grampaw's death but she remembered playing with him during christmas when we were home. I honestly thought that she was simply remembering something I had told her till she enlightened me one day. We had been talking about my Daddy and Heather was asking some questions. She told me she remembered him, she remembered playing with him. I told her she was too young and there was no way she could remember him. Heather asked me about several questions about that event and told her yes that was there or happened. I was shocked when she told me she played boogie boogie with Grampaw. I stopped and asked her what she was talking about. She then gave me in great detail about Grampaw trying to tickle her and saying "boogie boogie" to her as she would get close to him. I had never told her about this game. I was given a small gift that somehow in some way Heather did remember her Grampaw.