As the temperature finally fell below 90 degrees on Friday June 17, the Roundtable visited local businesses and restaurants along the Main-Dempster Mile to ask people what Father’s Day means to them as they prepare for the holidays this weekend.
As always, Father’s Day falls in the middle of Pride Month, and this year it also shares the day with Juneteenth, the new federal one-day holiday too often unseen in our history that marks the end of slavery. in the United States.
With so many occasions colliding this year, many Evanston residents said they were thrilled to celebrate Father’s Day from an intersectional perspective this weekend with fellow Black and LGBTQ+ neighbors at the mind.
Eli Cooper-Nelson, managing director of Booked, a Main Street children’s and youth bookstore, told the roundtable that he and his team at the store wanted to offer extensive and inclusive literary selections from all three events this weekend: Juneteenth, Father’s Day and Pride Month.
“Father’s Day, in some ways, can be a little overwhelming for a queer and trans person. That relationship hasn’t always been great,” Cooper-Nelson said. “And then, also, I live a block away. of my father-in-law’s houses and a mile from my father’s house, so for our family we will also do the tour, which is the nature of being local.
“I feel like there’s a lot to recognize at the same time. … But as a white person, I want to make sure I don’t overshadow Juneteenth with Father’s Day.
For many, Father’s Day is about revisiting the memories rather than the person. Longtime Evanstonians Lillie Parsons and her daughter, Felisha Parsons, have lived it for over 50 years. Lillie’s husband and Felisha’s father was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, so Father’s Day every year means a chance to honor his life, his legacy and his service to the country.
For Felisha, adding the Juneteenth holiday to the mix seems natural. “To me, it’s just a joyful occasion,” she said. “It’s about family, remembering our loved ones, commemorating our heritage and just being proud of who we are and everything we’ve brought to this country.”
Felisha said part of her plans for Father’s Day and Juneteenth was taking part in the 23rd annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Run Against Hate. The annual spring honored the life and legacy of Byrdsong, a Northwestern University basketball coach who was shot by a white supremacist in Skokie in 1999. Felisha knows the Byrdsong family, and she is keen to come for the race every year, she said.
At Ten Thousand Villages, manager Cheryl Nester-Detweiler said the store’s new men’s shirts have proven to be a hit as a Father’s Day gift. Being in retail, she will have to work on Sundays, but she plans to celebrate with her husband and their children on Monday, her day off.
“Everything my husband wants to do,” Nester-Detweiler said when asked about his plans. “Usually, I let him choose. It’s his day, so let’s do what he wants. I think we’re going to grill, but a lot of times it’s just spending time together doing family activities. He loves it.
Outside Hoosier Mama Pie Company on Chicago Avenue, Aaron and Charlotte Jaffe, 92 and 90 respectively, were celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary. Aaron was a state representative in the Illinois legislature for 14 years and a Cook County judge for over 20 years. The couple married on Father’s Day in 1951. As a result, they celebrate Father’s Day and their combined anniversary, usually with their children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.
Over the years, they were blessed to have most of their children and grandchildren near them in the Chicago area and to be there while their children’s children grew up, Charlotte and Aaron said. .
“It’s been quite a ride,” Charlotte said. “We were a team, and I think the psychology of the team had to evolve, develop with respect for each other’s interests, each other’s passions.”