Friday, June 16, 2017

"My father didn't tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland

I lost my father fewer than 2 weeks after Father's Day, 2002.  He had a massive heart attack and died in his sleep. The coroner said, "He didn't know what hit him,"  which has always been like a balm to me.  My dad suffered in so many ways: while serving in in World War II, with a serious rift in his family, with cancer, with hearing loss, with emphysema and more, and I hoped his ending would not be painful.

Whether it is Father's Day or any other day, I often think about my dad, who was a study in contrasts.  He had such a dry sense of humor, that sometimes people were not sure if he was really joking, yet his laugh was actually larger than he was!  A petite man of 5'7" and weighing only 110 pounds, he acquired the nickname of "Herk" for "Hercules" because of his wiry strength.  The gruffness he showed my brothers regarding their incorrectly done chores was the opposite of the tenderness shown to me, his "little girl," when I needed advice.  

Dad had a sterling sense of fair play and honesty.  When life was not always fair to us as children, Dad would remind us that life wasn't fair, but people should be fair. Lying was not acceptable in our house, for any reason, and if we made a mistake, we told the truth and accepted the consequences, because Dad said that was the only right thing to do. 

Dad worked 40+ hours per week at Allegheny Ludlum Steel, on the swing shift of 8-4, 4-12, and 12-8 for almost 44 years.  I know he wanted for a better life for his three children, so he never complained about his job. When he finally retired, I asked, "Dad, how could you work 44 years on the swing shift?"  His answer was simple: "Honey, I liked my job and I liked the people I worked with.  It really only seemed like about 10 years."  Many years later, I would understand his answer on my own personal level.  When I retired from 37 years of teaching English and Theater, friends marveled at my long career, asking, "How could you teach 10th grade for 37 years???" I gave my dad's answer without realizing it at the time:  "I really liked my job, and I enjoyed my colleagues and students.  Those 37 years really only seemed like about 10 years."  

I had become my father, and I that made me happy. 

As I get older, I reflect upon the lessons of my parents, and I am so grateful for the values they bequeathed to my brothers and to me: have a strong work ethic, be reliable and responsible, do your best every day, say only nice things to others, be courteous, and remember that the world owes you nothing, so be grateful for what you earn and what you receive. These core values have dictated both my brothers' and my many successes in life.

Thanks, Dad, for all you taught me.  I love you and miss you. 

Happy Father'sDay to all the dads out there! 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

No comments:

Post a Comment