Henry Fonda was one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. He just happened to father two of the stormiest petrels that century produced. “Easy Rider” himself Peter Fonda and, of course, Jane Fonda.
In the old days they used expressions like “Bringing honored gray hair to sadness.” This meant the kids went wild and left the parents to pay the piper.
Henry may have felt that way sometimes, he had great trouble showing his real emotions (much like his character, Norman Thayer in Golden Pond). He loved his wild kids but had a hard time telling them so.
Life is such a classroom and when you think about it, we are all “Home Schooled” in so many ways. Henry learned a hard lesson but he learned it in time to turn in his report.
He was in England, very near the end of his life, when he gave an interview in which he confessed his emotional coldness and his real love for his children. I remember seeing the interview and recall he had tears in his eyes.
I know it meant a lot to his children. It closed a big chapter in a beautiful way. Not many have had the opportunity to live out their life-lessons in front of millions. I think he knew what a great blessing it was.