Carl Jewell lived from 1906 to 2003, which means he had a long time to teach his son, Doug, some key lessons in life.
So Doug, who runs a Boardwalk business in Ocean City, has a bit of a hard time picking out the single most important thing he learned from his dad.
“Here’s one — whenever you borrow something, return it in better condition than you got it in,” Doug, 67, said on a June night in his separate but joined Boardwalk shops, Air Circus and Pirates Arrrgh Us. Another is, “No matter what you want to do, people will say you can’t do it. If you don’t try, they win.”
There are many more. Then there are the lessons Doug has taught his daughter and veteran store worker, Katie Jewell — many of which she knows he got from his dad.
And that brings up a lesson on Father’s Day that goes way beyond one family: A father’s lessons can last for lifetimes — many of them.
Conversations with a sampling of South Jersey residents turned up a selection of things they learned from their dads, some profound, some surprising, some funny, but all memorable — to the point of being unforgettable.
Bruce Harper, 32, said his father, Bruce Hamlett, 51, of Mays Landing, taught him to always have the courage to be who he wanted to be.
“I remember distinctly a point in my life when I was in eighth grade. I was young. I wanted to go to the NFL. I used to go to the gym and lift weights. A lot of my friends thought that was funny. I used to come to school with baked potatoes because I was trying to get bigger,” Harper said.
Harper was made fun of because he was a skinny, scrawny kid.
“My dad always told me, ‘Always have the courage to stand on what it is you want to do and what it is you want to be. ... If you keep pushing for it, you can get it. You can achieve it if you push hard enough,’” said Harper, of Absecon.
Harper never did make the NFL, but he did play Atlantic City High School football and basketball. Now, he coaches kids to chase their dreams, as an assistant basketball coach at Atlantic City High School.
Lizanne Tracy, 50, of Avalon, remembers her father, Anthony Zurawski, 72, also of Avalon, telling her that people can’t get ahead in life unless they’re willing to take a chance on something.
Zurawski owned Princeton Bar & Grill and the Sea Grill Restaurant in Avalon. He sold them to Tracy and her brother, Scott Zurawski, 47, of Avalon.
“My brother and I did major renovations to our business after we purchased it from my father, and that was a pretty big risk,” said Tracy, who added she has taken chances many times in her working life. “I’ve also had some risky real estate deals, buying a few homes, renovating them and renting them out and even flipping a few of them, so I have taken a few chances.”
Tracy worked for her father from 1986 to 2003. Her father now owns the Whitebrier Restaurant, also in Avalon — where his employees include Tracy’s oldest child.
Chris Orazi, 58, of Vineland, said his father, Lloyd Orazi, who died three years ago, inspired him to pursue his passion, a music career. Orazi owns Vineland-based C.A.S. Music Productions, which does music for radio, TV and film, and also audio and video installations for commercial businesses.
“He taught me to never look back if I had a dream,” said Chris Orazi, adding that his dad also taught him some very basic, hands-on lessons for his business — including, when Chris was a boy, how to wire a speaker system.
Now, Chris runs his own recording studio, too, and releases his own CDs as leader of a 10-piece jazz band with horns.
The son went to college because he wanted to be safe. He studied radio and TV broadcasting, but when he asked his father about switching his major to music, Lloyd was supportive.
“I’ve made a career in this business, and I’m so glad I did because I was able to stay with what I wanted to do,” said Orazi, who still thanks his dad for the influence Lloyd had on that career.
Back in Ocean City, Doug Jewell laughed as he remembered yet another lesson from his dad: “If you want to lose a friend,” Carl used to say, “lend him money.”
Doug once put that one to work in a mall business in Maryland, where he grew up. He could see these three kids were shoplifting from them, and one day he confronted them — to ask whether they needed some cash.
He said he’d lend them $5 apiece, and he actually gave them the money. He never saw them again — which turned out to be a great business move.
But Katie Jewell, 22, said the main business trick she learned from a lifetime of working with her dad is an old one — and a sneaky one.
“Treat people kindly,” she said, remembering a few recent customer-service experiences she had in other stores — or didn’t have. Take going into a local supermarket at 10:50 p.m. and being told by a worker it was closed, even though the sign on the door said the real closing time was 11. “You watch (my dad) with people, you can see he loves what he does.”
A few miles away, in Margate, Rabbi Aaron Krauss said his father was also a businessman — Max Krauss ran a neighborhood clothing and shoe store in Bridgeport, Conn., the hometown of his wife, Ida.
And Aaron Krauss, the longtime rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Margate, said it’s also kindness he thinks of first when he remembers his dad. Max was born in Lithuania sometime in the 1890s — he was always a bit vague about his age — and came to America when he was about 20. He died in 1969.
“My father was generous and wise, beyond any person I’ve ever known in my life,” the rabbi said. “He certainly shared everything he had, even when he had very little.”
He went on a bit more about his dad, warming up to the subject.
“Whenever I think of anything good about people, I think of my father. I guess that sounds a little exaggerated, but it’s absolutely true,” said the rabbi, who — because “I follow my father’s tradition” — declined to reveal his exact age. “But I think of (Max) every single day, without fail. I try to communicate with him some way. I’ll say, ‘Dad, what would you do in this case?’”
At the end of the interview, Aaron Krauss added one last thought.
“I’m glad you’re giving me a chance to mention my father,” he told a reporter. “He meant a great deal to me, and he always will.”
Fathers often do. That’s one more lesson of Father’s Day.
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