John D Dillon, RIP, 28 Years Ago Today

John as a young man handing out gifts

On 22 December 1990, my adopted father John D Dillon passed away. He was Patrick’s first father-in-law, Donna’s dad, the man I called Granddaddy when I was a wee tyke.

After my adoption when I was 12, my new parents and I sat down to discuss naming conventions. I’d been calling him Granddaddy but my mom Willie seemed too young and glamorous to have a name like Grandma and we wanted their names to be of the same pattern. Since I was already calling her Willie (short for Wilma), they became “John and Willie” from that point forward.

Meanwhile, they asked what I’d like to do with my own name. I was originally John Patrick Meador. I gave it some thought and finally suggested tacking on Dillon at the end. (Gretchen, Jennifer, and I were all born “Meador” because we popped out of Mother before Patrick discovered the error on his birth certificate.)

Now that I have a grandson, I asked the kids if I can be “Granddaddy” to baby Max. The term is doubly endearing to me: it’s an expression of love for Max, and for John as well, another one of those “circle of life” moments that will carry me through the coming days and years.

John D Dillon at the Mellon Institute about the time I was born (March 1956)




Now It Is Father’s Day 2018

Here in the U.S. today is Father’s Day. I was lucky. I had two dads, Patrick and John.

I lost John in 1990. I still grieve for him, look at his self-portrait and the things he gave me, and ask questions that he can no longer answer, but that loss has lost the harsh edges, worn down and smoothed by liquid time.

Being without Patrick is much more raw, more visceral. He was absent many of my formative years, but never Continue reading “Now It Is Father’s Day 2018”

Barefoot and Pregnant

Here’s the transcription of a conversation with Patrick about my mom and some other family members, recorded¬†on 18 March 2017 in a very noisy restaurant. If there’s interest, I’ll convert the audio file to YouTube so you can hear it.

Patrick: One of the stories I haven’t really worked on, but I’ve got the title: “Barefoot and Pregnant.”

JP: Okay

Patrick: That’s what John Dillon said when he was introduced to me. Continue reading “Barefoot and Pregnant”