You know, my Dad is a great guy. A tall, strapping WW2 vet waiting for discharge from the army, he met my mom when someone played a practical joke. Someone was supposed to set my mom up with a date- someone short, as her height is petite. And this person set her up with the tallest soldier he could find… my Dad. But he looked beyond my Mom's diminutive stature and saw her tall sense of spirit and goodness.
My parents raised us with a deep sense of justice. When our school put on the play "The Merchant of Venice", my parents (who are NOT Jewish), sat me down and explained, in advance, the anti-Semitism in the play. I am sure none of my classmates received that lesson.
When we visited Florida, our parents had us sit in the "colored" soda fountain as a protest to segregation. [I felt sorry for the poor waitress who seemed flustered by what she thought (at least at first) was a mistake.] The message was clear: stand up for what you believe!
We had a neighbor who was a mentally-impaired young man, living with his family. As a girl (I think about 10 years old?), I spent a period where I played in his back yard daily with him. My mom warned me (I think at the urging of the young man's mom) that even though he was disabled, he had feelings and drives like all other young men, and I should be aware and take care. But she did it in a way that did not scare me, nor did she in any way pressure me to stop playing there.
And all of this was in the early 60's. It was definitely not your typical Midwestern town upbringing. Not surprising, as my parents are anything but typical.
Happy birthday Dad!