Larry Elder on reconciling with his father after 10 years
Radio show host shares his story
- Duration 6:57
- Date Nov 25, 2012
Radio show host shares his story
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Well for most of -- -- -- time to enjoy with our families but for those who are estranged from family members.
You -- holidays can be tough.
Syndicated radio talk show host Larry Elder was bitter and angry toward his father.
Who he hadn't spoken to for ten years.
But all that changed.
Over an eight hour conversation when they finally got back together.
He writes about it in his new book your father dear son to lives.
Eight hours Larry Elder joins us now.
Larry -- -- your dad were estranged for ten years where want lawsuit that was so big because you're not even to talk to him for that length -- well governor thank you for having me my dad was a month report green he was one of the the first black Marines.
He grew up in the Jim Crow south didn't know who his biological father is demanding soldier was the man who -- in his life the longest.
None of which I knew until my dad and I sat down after not having spoken to each other for ten years.
We were fifty I was fifteen.
We had a fight over something relatively inconsequential in retrospect -- just talked to him for ten years I'm 25 years old I'm having difficulty sleeping I can't eat.
-- -- -- -- -- One -- just tell him how I felt.
I would like to say that I thought I could repair the relationship that was my goal at all Michael was sit down and call an SOB he would call on the name I think we have a five minute conversation at least -- get it off my chest.
Instead conversation lasted eight hours he went from being this mean SOB to this inspiration during that period of time I learned so many things about him I never knew.
When I unloaded on him all the things -- bothered me governor he said very quietly after I was done I was a better father to you than mine was to me.
My dad never -- word about his father and I found out all the things about he's upbringing in that conversation.
You wanted to make contact to get some stuff off your chest when you sat down with him for what turned out to be -- eight hour conversation.
Who broke the -- you -- him and started bringing a little.
Actual conversation into this rather than just the confrontation that you were expecting.
Out why I think I I did on the one who decided to to talk to him I lived in Ohio with the time my dad's in Los Angeles.
I didn't even tell him I was coming so I walked into the restaurant that he operated a little restaurant there with the janitor he worked two full time job the janitor.
When I was a kid he cook for famine in the weekend went to night school at night no human being ever worked that hard that's when -- -- -- so irritable.
You try going for hours of sleep for a couple of decades -- yet what kind of mood jury.
You add that up to all the stuff I found out about -- my dad said when he was a little boy.
Are in the country and -- Athens Georgia.
Thought that the woman who raised him with his mother some kid in the neighborhood informed him that was his grandmother he had a fight with the kid he goes home crying to the grandmother.
She sits down informs them that yes I'm not your mother -- your grandmother.
His mother kind of came in and out -- his life.
The mother had a series of boyfriend elder was the man who within the moms like the longest my dad came home from school when -- when -- was thirteen years old governor.
Had to fight with the -- boyfriend the moms -- with a boyfriend.
Through my dad the house he never returned thirteen years old on his own Jim Crow south.
Great Depression when unemployment was 50% for for black man.
When Larry what was the relations figured out like after you reconcile.
We went from being not -- -- there for ten years to becoming best of friends of anything I became even closer to my dad and I was with my mom my mom and I were very very close.
My dad became so sensitive and emotional.
And begin telling me things all about his life he never told any of us before.
And I understood why he was so irritable why he was so cold.
I did believe hard work wins together like what you put into it before you complain look into the mirror decide whether or not there's something else you could've done.
And no matter how hard you work sooner or later something bad is gonna happen how you react to that -- we'll tell me where the -- your mom and I raised the man.
And I said dad.
Not too much pressure.
-- Larry how much of your dad do you ever find.
Seeing in yourself.
A whole lot governor and -- more than I thought.
I told myself when I was a kid I was never gonna be like my father as an older I got more and more my friend said Larry you're just like your father hardworking.
I'm very -- -- my dad you know it always works out like that of the of the people that we focus on.
The ones we think we don't want to the ones we end up becoming like as we focus on animals absolutely.
Now Larry your dad passed away last year when you talk about those last months of his life and the relationship you had and and what.
What you feel like you will always have.
No matter whether your dad is here not of him.
Well my dad died shortly after finished the book and I would read passages to them he began having a little bit of dementia so was -- the follow that.
I don't make light of dementia but one of the good things about it is my -- -- -- -- -- sense of humor.
I had -- joked that he -- I could tell the joke over and over again he was still laugh at -- Gosh I wish I had a -- With -- and I started doing things together normal things you're getting -- haircut taking into the doctor.
I took him to see a movie called sling blade -- my -- always wanted to be next to a restroom when are we went anywhere forced particularly put him next to a restaurant.
He was so restless during the movie I thought it was because he had to use a restaurant and he turned and he said Larry let's leave.
He said the man in SlingPlayer reminded him of the man who abused him when he was a little boy and he couldn't take it anymore.
That's it one of the few times I saw my father cry.
In the midst of the holidays.
A lot of families are strange to -- people have some real deep hurts.
Give some advice to families who are estranged from may be a mother father or even a husband wife or son or daughter what they did is dark the relationship over I'm hoping dear father -- symbol will.
Give to -- the first is 7% of black kids today are born outside of wedlock.
50% Hispanic kids are 25% of white kids are what do you do when you have no male role model in the house.
My father had -- their role model in the house.
If anybody could have gone awry it's my dad my dad always believed -- raised by lower primate you should know the difference between right and wrong you should know the value of hard work.
And no matter how bad the cards are dealt it's -- you -- a moral duty to play -- of course to the best to your ability.
The second thing is you've never really know what's inside someone.
What's the downside in telling somebody how you really feel.
If it's up a relative a parent child father with the downside the worst that can happen as you can clarify your position.
The best that could happen -- you could realize that you misunderstood each other or had some sort of fight over something.
It usually is that -- yes well I say it's a powerful story Larry one that.
Really -- touch a lot of lives and this may be of great holiday season that brings people together I appreciate your being thank you very much governor thank you this book is --