[Note: I guess that, as a historian who is “retired but not shy,” I’ve spent lots of time over the past decade looking back, on my career as a History teacher and on the road that led me there. It wasn’t until 2017 that I finally, perhaps inevitably, turned to the history of my family.
This began with a multi-part series on my mother, Betts Lamplugh, which stretched over the years 2017 to 2019. As a way to balance this picture of my family, I eventually (2019–2020) turned to a treatment of my father, Ben Lamplugh.
Then, last month, I had a notion to commemorate my mother by reposting one of the “Betts” episodes on Mother’s Day, emphasizing her interest in her family and its history. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that in June 2020, for Father’s Day, I’m reposting the episode in the “Ben” series highlighting his role as our father, a position for which his background had not really prepared him.
This episode is more focused on Ben’s role as our dad than last month’s was on Betts as our mom, which is my fault: in the “Betts” series, I adopted a strictly chronological approach, and trusted the reader to see how successful she was as a mother. Because of my mixed feelings about Ben Lamplugh, however, I decided to set aside one installment to examine how well he functioned as our dad, based mainly on the recollections of my siblings and I. There are references in the post, though, that should enable anyone interested in what Ben brought (or did not bring) to his job as the Lamplugh paterfamilias to retrace his steps.
As my brother Rick put it, Ben Lamplugh “might not always have been the father we wanted, but he was the only father we had.” ‘Twas ever thus, I guess. . . .
I hope you’ll enjoy:
Finally, happy Father’s Day to all of you out there in Internet land.
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For those interested in reading more of my reflections on history, here are links to my books on the subject: