Clyde Edgerton’s fatherhood stories, advice
“Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages” by Clyde Edgerton (Little, Brown and Company, $25)
DURHAM – The first thing Clyde Edgerton ever wrote that was published was for a high school teacher. He grew up in Bethesda, in Durham County, and the assignment he and his buddies received was to take a tadpole down into the woods and let it go. They went into the woods, got lost, and were late for school. Edgerton told his teacher what happened, and she told him to “write it up.”
Edgerton told the tadpole story – and several others – at a reading Thursday at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church for his new book, “Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages.” The event was sponsored by Durham’s Partnership for Children. At the event held much closer to Mother’s Day than Father’s Day, men in attendance received cards that said “A father that is involved with his children is the best gift you can give to the mother of your children.”
Edgerton is 68 and the father of four children ranging in age from 6 to 31. He is a creative writing professor at UNC Wilmington and the author of 10 novels, including “The Bible Salesman” and “The Night Train.” He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from UNC Chapel Hill.
“Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers” includes Edgerton’s stories about building a crib in the living room, then wheeling it to the baby’s room and finding out it was wider than the door frame. Advice: Build the crib in the baby’s room. He also suggests just using a hard cooler for a bassinet until you need the crib.
“I spend a good bit of time talking about poop and pee and diapers in here,” Edgerton said. It might seem like a lot, he said, but once fathers go through that first year of parenthood, they won’t think so, he said.
Not just humor, Edgerton also talks about the ecstasy and worry that comes with seeing a baby for the first time. He writes about giving children limits and freedom. He writes about everything from dealing with lice to in-laws to the day of delivery.
Edgerton also writes in “Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers,” and told the audience Thursday, that “If you’re a good person you’ll be a good father.”
The author and professor did a little musical entertainment too, singing and playing the mandolin for two songs. One was “I’ll Fly Away,” a duet with the Rev. Mel Williams, pastor emeritus of Watts Street Baptist Church. The other was one Edgerton wrote because of a comment from his cousin who took care of his mom. The cousin was a little overweight, a great cook and was making lunch one day when she said that growing up, she was made to feel bad if she didn’t clear her plate.
“I guess I’m just fat from shame,” she said. Edgerton sang his song, “Fat From Shame,” about eating everything off your plate.
WHEN: 11 a.m. June 1
WHERE: McIntyre’s Fine Books
Fearrington Village, Pittsboro
WHEN: 2 p.m. June 2
WHERE: Flyleaf Books
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill