End of an Era

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a retirement party. Not just any, but for my dad. It was a roast, more than anything, with people getting up and telling stories about my dad. It was fun to hear, that’s for sure. Mine is below (as written, anyway), but it wasn’t the best:

For all of you who have ever worked with or for my dad, I apologize. Apparently it was my fault. The year was 1981. It was the end of November, mom was pregnant with me, and apparently I had enough. The story goes that when I was born, dad was home for two weeks and said “screw this, I’m taking that job at Nemer Fieger.”  32 years later, they’re finally kicking him out.
 
For me, it’s pretty inspiring that he’s been there for so long. I work with lots of agencies in town, and when I tell them that my dad has been working at the same agency since I was born, it always surprises them. Luckily, dad never got caught up in the revolving door lifestyle of the rest of the agency world.
 
I’ve got lots of great memories of my dad and Nemer Fieger. My first was probably when dad brought me in – I think on a Saturday – to do some newspaper ads. We cut black tape, and set layouts. Old school style. I remember driving around, looking at billboards and analyzing traffic patterns and seeing what kind of reach the particular placement would get. And then there was Ad League Softball. Dad was the pitcher – that way he didn’t have to run around so much. I also remember working down in the basement with the graphics folks, hawking pies for Baker’s Square, freezing my fingers off giving away Blue Bunny ice cream, and sweating like crazy in a ridiculous Car X Bluebird mascot suit, or being Tom Thumb on the back of a pick up truck. Some of that time I actually got paid, too.
 
But my point of all of this is simple. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where my father always had a job. Always. Looking back on it all now makes me realize how rare and wonderful that is. I’ve only been a father for about five years and I’ve already worked for two different companies. My move to the Foundation though was inspired by my dad’s tenacity and his unending desire to take care of us kids. Having kids, I realized the advantages of working hard during the day….and coming home and having a drink….but most importantly, making my kids feel neither poor, nor rich. Saying no is just as important as saying yes. And for that, I’m grateful. But now I’m actually more excited. I’ve got tons of memories of dad at Nemer Fieger, but I am more excited for the memories that we get to make with more time together. Plus, that’s one more babysitter in my corner, and with three kids, we need all the help we can get.
 
Nemer Fieger folks, thanks for putting up with him for so long, but I’m selfishly happy and have been waiting eagerly for this day.
 
Dad, relax for once. It’ll be fine….

 
The best speech though? Sorry everyone,  a four year old kicked our asses.
 

Grandpa. Um. I love you.

 
Yep. Good job, Lucy. You win.
 
But the biggest surprise? We snuck my brother back home from New York. He brought his tenor, and arranged to have a drummer and bassist with him. It was great to have him home (albeit extremely brief), but it was wonderful to hear him play. It’s been awhile.
 
In the end, dad’s 32 year stint at Nemer Fieger is coming to an end, and we’re all excited for what is next. (And, if anyone wants to hire a 32 year veteran of marketing, I’m sure he’ll get bored shortly.)
 
Best of luck dad, and Lucy is right: we all love you.
 
-Matt

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