“Gary William Gauthier: The Family Man” by Chastity Ann Cardiel

Chastity     The person I have decided to interview is a man named Gary William Gauthier. Gary is 56 years old and he is a city bus driver in the bay area. As a father of three and a grandfather of two, he definitely prides himself on being a family man. When he was younger, he never really had a father figure to look up to so he vowed that he would always put his family’s wants and needs before his own and has graciously stayed true to that vow.

Gary was born in Baldwin, Louisiana and lived there for the first few years of his life. He lived with his mother Christine, and his two older sisters; Sherry and Elaina. Before Gary was born, his biological father ran out on him and his family. Gary has told me to include the word “biological” when referring to his father because he wants people to know that blood does not make a person a father. Gary believes that a father is one who takes care of his family and that is not what this man did for him. Gary grew up wanting nothing more than to provide a good home for his mother and two sisters.  Too young to work, Gary learned how to do things around the house like cook, clean, and repair whatever he could get his hands on. He was the man of the house in many ways.

Soon Gary moved to California and continued to take care of his family while going to school. After high school he got a job at a car manufacturing company where he met Pamela Harrison. It wasn’t long before he realized Pam was the love of his life and he decided that he wanted to start a family with her. Pam already had a 3 year old daughter from a previous relationship but Gary loved the little girl as his own and he became the only dad she came to know. Soon the couple was married and residing in Tracy, California with another child on the way when Gary was laid off with 200 others at his job. Pam was offered an executive position at a large dairy company which would more than provide for his family so Gary and Pam made a decision. Gary was going to be a stay at home father while Pam took the position at the dairy company.

Gary loves his children spent a lot of time with them. He raised his kids to be resilient, independent and caring. He raised his daughter to always keep an open mind and his sons to not be afraid to go against the grain of what people think a black man should be. It wasn’t until his second son was in high school that he went out to look for a job and stopped being a full-time stay-at-home dad. He soon became a city bus driver but, of course, this did not stop Gary from being very involved in his children’s lives. He was and still is very much a family man and that is something that he is more than proud of.

As soon as I got instruction for this project, I knew that Gary was the man I wanted to interview. He is an inspiration to me because of how grateful he is for his family and how completely unselfish he is. Gary grew up in a family with all women and stepped up his role because of what was lacking in their family-a father. Gary told me that there were two ways that he could have handled his situation with his father. He said that he could have harbored hatred for the man which might have made him bitter and maybe one day cause him to do the exact same thing that this man did to him. He knew that he wanted to take a different route. He wanted to put all of his effort into helping his family and being everything that his father was not.

Many men would be ashamed or unwilling to let their wife be the bread-winner of the family. Gary made a decision to be a stay-at-home dad because he knew that it was the right thing to do for his family. He knew that his wife had a great opportunity to work for a great company and that it would take up a lot of her time so he decided that he would cook, clean, and raise his children when his wife was not able to be around. This, to me, is a very noble and unselfish thing to do.

I asked Gary if there was a part of him that wanted to get a job himself and let his wife stay home and raise their children. Gary told me that he considered it but he weighed his options. He knew what the better thing to do for his family would be and he decided that he did not care about being the house provider more than he cared about his family. Gary really wanted to be a great father, a better one than the one that had walked out on him before he was even born. He explained to me that he knew, because he was Black, that he was expected to be a dead beat dad. It was more expected for him to walk out on his family than to take care of them the way that he did.

One thing I always admired about Gary was the fact that he was never too proud to cook, clean and provide for his family in a way that most men would be embarrassed about. These are the “wifely responsibilities” that he took to every day and he taught his kids that they could be whatever kind of people they wanted to be. He went against the norm and did the domestic work that is expected of women but, to me, this showed more courage than anything. It did not matter to him what people thought of his “progressive family” which is what most people decided to call them. He did not live up to any of the black male stereotypes, he decided to be a great father above all. I also admire that he took his bad experiences with his father and turned it into an inspiration. This experience drove him to be the best father and husband he could be and I believe that he truly lived his life for his family and nothing more. He really is a strong, black many ways and possesses the traits that are believed to be that of Anglos not of Africana individuals. He is truthful, peaceful, rational, kind, and loving.

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