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Friends Come Together After Losing Their Fathers

Morgan Dominique and Kadi McDonald at the StoryCorps booth in Columbus.
Morgan Dominique and Kadi McDonald at the StoryCorps booth in Columbus.

Kadi McDonald and Morgan Dominique’s friendship developed from a common loss: Both grappled with the deaths of their fathers, learning how to grieve while also remembering their lives. 

They sat down in the StoryCorps booth in Columbus to reflect on how their fathers’ eccentricities and imperfections leave them with the most lasting memories and joy - especially one memory of a surprising Disney character Dominique discovered on her father’s foot.

One day when her father was wearing shorts and loafers, Dominique saw a black outline on his foot. At first, she thought it was a black thread. Then, she jokingly said to him that it looked like a tattoo.

"He looked at me and put a finger to his mouth," Dominique remembered, "and he goes, 'Shhh.'"

Dominique was shocked to learn that her straight-laced father did indeed have a tattoo of the cartoon dog Goofy.

"We were mortified," Dominique said. "I mean, this guy wore like a starched dress shirt to mow the lawn."

Since her father's passing, the image of Goofy is a fun reminder of him.

McDonald agrees it's nice to have visual reminder of of her dad. For her, that's the Roto-Rooter plumbing service logo, where her father worked for many years.

"Every single time I see a Roto-Rooter van, I'm like, 'Oh, dad,''' McDonald said. "The Roto-Rooter van is a constant reminder of my dad."

Both McDonald and Dominique said that they believe their fathers would approve of their daughters discussing their memories, both positive and negative.

"It wasn't this perfectly written obituary of a story and of a life," Kadi said. "I think he is very O.K. with us being public about him being incredibly imperfect."

"From wherever they are, they like it," Morgan said.

Kadi McDonald and Morgan Dominique were recorded in the StoryCorps mobile recording booth when it was in Columbus in 2019.

To hear more stories from your neighbors, be sure to subscribe to the StoryCorps COLUMBUS podcast on AppleSpotifyStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Michael De Bonis develops and produces digital content including podcasts, videos, and news stories. He is also the editor of WOSU's award-winning Curious Cbus project. He moved to Columbus in 2012 to work as the producer of All Sides with Ann Fisher, the live news talk show on 89.7 NPR News.