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Happy Father’s Day!

I went looking for a good article about Father’s Day, celebrated today in the U.S.

I found only one, and I could not relate to it. CNN Money ran this article about Bill Gates and his father talking about “what it was like growing up Gates as they reflect on the advice that has influenced their careers and their relationship.”


Maybe I just can’t relate to being a son of privilege. As for two men, one a lawyer, one the richest man in the world, starting second careers as philanthropists – well, it’s been done. A lot of wealthy men, Andrew Carnegie comes to mind, start second careers as philanthropists. Andrew Carnegie is listed in Wikipedia as “the second richest man in history,” after John D. Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil was a “convicted monopolist” in its own right. :-)

Andrew Carnegie published “Wealth” in the June 1889 issue of the North American Review. Carnegie argued that the life of a wealthy industrialist should have two parts. The first part is the gathering and accumulation of wealth. The second part is the distribution of this wealth to benevolent causes. Andrew Carnegie believed that the philanthropy was the key to making the life worthwhile. Carnegie founded a library in my city of Livermore, and I have fond memories of visiting The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA, with my parents, as a child. The Carnegie Institute merged with the Buhl Science Center (I remember it as the “Buhl Planetarium” for some reason) to form the Carnegie Science Center, one of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Some of the more cynical of us folks in America view the later philanthropy of wealthy industrialists as penance for the way they lived the first part of their lives! :-)

My Father’s Day (and yesterday too!) was spent doing something unusual for me – carpentry! My son-in-law (a union carpenter) will probably laugh when he finds out. He and my daughter spent their day in Ohio and Pennsylvania visiting the graves of some of her forefathers (and “foremothers!”). Fortunately, my son is in California today. The carpentry I did today involved getting my booth together for the 23rd annual “Art Under the Oaks” art show at Alden Lane Nursery (981 Alden Lane, at Holmes, in Livermore, CA) on July 11th and 12th. Since I usually do not do carpentry during my days, the work was really recreation for me (but I have some “new muscles” this evening)! :-)

My own father passed away in 2008. I found a blog entry that I wrote after returning to California from the funeral, centered around a book, “You’re Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children” by Dr. Seuss, which I gave my father on his 70th birthday. The book now sits over my desk. The blog entry says a lot about how I felt and feel about him, on this Father’s Day.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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