From a personal standpoint, my own life yearned for the warmth and security exemplified at Ebenezer communities from the time I knew how to think. Naive as it might have been, the FATHER KNOWS BEST example of how family life should be, even before that television series debuted, was, to me, a life that could really exist, rather than simply a script-writer's dream or fantasy. (Sidebar: I had the pleasure to meet both Jane Wyatt and Elinor Donohue at different times of my life. If your memory might need refreshing, Ms. Wyatt was Robert Young's character's wife on the show and Elinor Donohue the elder of the three children portrayed in the series. In person, both Ms. Wyatt and Ms. Donohue were as warm as the characters they portrayed on that wholesome series of programs.)
As unlike FATHER KNOWS BEST as a life could be, and stressing how important family life is, my early years began without a father. He left my mother when I was barely aged 1-1/2. He walked out of the apartment one Sunday to supposedly get a newspaper and never returned. During those days of early World War Two, my mother worked for the War Department, sometimes until 9 or 10 p.m. Because of her schedule, she taught me how to make sandwiches (at age five), as well as open and heat the contents of cans of soup for my weeknight dinners. I also listened to the radio every night, in the dark. The programming was educational talk as well as classical music on the station whereon I would soon become a boy singer every Saturday morning for five years (KDKA, the world's first commercial radio station).
In a nutshell, and not to be stated as a "pity party", my young, and even not-so-young, years, were lonely, with the loneliness amplified when I'd also listen to some popular radio soap operas with scripts focused on families and family life. Once again, even before FATHER KNOWS BEST, I wanted a "normal" family existence.
The kind of family I wanted as a child eventually materialized for me in later years, with the blessing of a wonderful marriage, two daughters (one of whom, I'm saddened to state, passed away two years ago at age 54 from ovarian cancer), four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. There have been many other blessings, including being a spokesperson for Ebenezer, the exemplars of knowing how to illustrate what it is to enjoy the true happiness of perpetuating family life, especially for those of advanced ages, as a mission-driven, values-based organization.
Thank you for reading, as always and pre-Happy Easter.