HAPPY DADNELION DAY?
There are many ways to describe a dad. We are thoroughly taken with the idea of a “common wild weed” that has “ragged edges”. In his exquisite book, Consumer Rites, Leigh E Schmidt(1995) noted that the dandelion may be “the best flower to commemorate” dear ol’ dad b/c “the more [he’s] trampled on, the more [he] grows”. While there are competing stories about the founding of F-Day, we feel comfortable in stating that the honor goes to Grace Golden Clayton. After she listened to a M-Day sermon in May 1908, she “arranged” for the 1st Dad’s Day church service in Fairmont, WV on 7/5/1908. Having given this “Golden Girl” her due credit, we must quickly seque to the F-Day champion, Sonora Smart Dodd (SSD), who also was inspired by a M-Day sermon. By 1909 M-Day had made the cross country trip from WV to Spokane, WA. She heard the sermon and immediately began advocating on behalf of a nat’l F-Day. SSD had been reared by her father with her younger 5 bros. Her mom had died in childbirth when SSD was ONLY 16 yrs old. Her dad (Sgt Wm Jackson Smart a Civil War vet) moved his family from AR to WA to raise his kids on a farm. THX to her, Spokane officially celebrated F-Day #1 on 6/19/1910.
MORE LIKE TUMLEWEED?
Unlike M-Day that found many oases of opportunities wherever it landed in the US, F-Day was more like a tumble weed that blew throughout the desert. It took many, many yrs b-4 it really rooted. By the end of the 19teens there was little evidence of Dodd’s Day. The 1920s added little impetus to it. Even in Spokane there was a sermon here and there as SSD sought her life as a poet and painter at the Art Institute of Chicago. As F-Day ripened into 25 yrs (1935), it had been misused and abused. Christianity wanted it to be religious & for it to sell sobriety; women’s movements wanted it to be a mini-Moms–Day (and dads be mini-moms), AND some retailers wanted to feminize it (with flowers, bows & love laden lyrics) where others wanted to retail tobacco, shirts, ties, etc. Greeting card makers and comedians struggled b/t F-Day being a fiasco, a farce or a time for family bonding and bliss. (Even today that same struggle exists.)
EVEN A RO$E HA$ $OME THORN$
T-1: The Laudables & the Laughables of M-Day & F-Day Acceptance
|Founder||Anna Jarvis 5/14/08||Sonora Smart Dodd 6/19/1910|
|Prez Proclamation||Woodrow Wilson 1914||Lindon Baines Johnson 1966|
|Into Law||Woodrow Wilson 1914||Ricarch M Nixon 1972|
No less than M-Day matriarch Anna Jarvis dissed F-Day from the start calling it a “plot of… neck-tie, tobacco [&] whiskey promoters”. M-Day/F-Day acceptance histories dated above, strongly infer F-Day’s probs. ANYQUESTIONS?
In the early 1930s SSD re-Spokaned to prepare F-Day for its Silver Anniversary. While retailers spun groups (Father’s Day Committee & Father’s Day Council) to commercialize it into a 2nd Xmas, or at least another M-Day, neither one EVER happened. Nonetheless, by 1937 $1M was being spent on F-Day advertising with about 1 in 6 (17%) dads being celebrated on F-Day. By 1949 the Fr Day Council estimated F-Day sales at $106M. By 1972 F-Day was assessed as being a $1B biz. Today, 75% of all dads celebrate with spending b/t $12B to $13B in their
honor. At the end whether DANDELION, TUMBLEWEED, ROSE OR THORNS F-Day has certainly bloomed!