I think if Dad could come back and see life as it is now, he'd be very surprised by some of the changes.
For starters, I'm on the radio professionally. He never expected that to happen. Dad once browbeat me, repeating, "What are you going to do when you don't get a job in radio?" I got my bachelor's degree; he had hoped to live to see that. I have a house, and I paid below asking price. That would've blown him away. OTOH, he'd be disappointed I hadn't remarried and bore him at least one grandchild by now.
His son is married and had a grandkid. The way it all happened wouldn't have surprised him, though (shotgun). I think he'd have been disgusted with my brother but adored my niece.
Mom waited a year, then went to the Restaurant School in Philadelphia, graduating with Honors. She worked as a chef and caterer for a while by choice. Dad hadn't wanted her to work after she had my brother, but working added a sense of self-confidence Mom hadn't had before. It also gave her a better grasp on reality.
One thing I wonder, though: Despite all my achievements, would Dad have been proud of me, or would he continued to have found fault with me? If I could have one question in the universe answered, that would be it.
I always tried so hard to please him while not compromising my own values, yet he perpetually made me feel like a failure, even calling me one to my face on two occasions. I didn't have a substance abuse problem, I didn't rob anybody, didn't have a kid out of wedlock (a "no big deal" in most of the western world but a major no-no in south Jersey), and I introduced him to the Bichon Frise (he adored Fuzzball).
Still, I always have that "failure" recording playing in the background. I'm divorced and haven't remarried. I'm having trouble making ends meet right now. I'm overweight. My teeth are still ugly after all these years, and my face is scarred. I keep changing jobs. I'm sure there are others, but it's been 13 years, and I choose not to try to remember the less frequent ones.
Praise would have been nice when I was growing up. Praise would have been nice when I became an adult. The nicest thing Dad ever said to me was, "You know, you're above-average looking" -- and that was on the night before my wedding!
Still, there are times when I miss him. When I got the radio job so quickly after graduating I wanted to shove it in his face. When I bought the house I wanted to show him the original flyer because paying below asking price was a big-to-do with him (and was almost unheard of during the dot-com boom -- I was smooth).
I also wonder whether he'd like Warren. He wouldn't like that Warren is unemployed and before that was working at the station in a low-end job and not a doctor or lawyer. He would like it that Warren is honest, hard-working, and genuinely cares about me. Mom likes Warren (better than me, I think!), but she's easy to please that way.
I'm sure Dad would like Lady. Dad was a "dog-person," and he fell in love with her breed to the point where he insisted on buying one for Mom for her birthday (it was like Homer Simpson buying Marge a bowling ball for her birthday with his name inscribed on it).
I often wonder whether he'd like me. I suspect not, but a large part of me had given up on that when I realized I'd have to be someone I couldn't stand. He never understood fandom and wondered about his kids going to these "conventions" instead of having drug problems like normal "kids" their age.
Oh well. Once a year I get like this, and today's the day.