Following In Father's Footsteps

The Geists
In honor of Father's Day, Sunday Morning correspondent Bill Geist takes a look at three father-children pairs, including him and his son Willie, where the child grows up to do the same thing the father does.
  • Melvin Glimcher and his daughter Laurie

    Following in a father's footsteps sometimes means filling some pretty big shoes. Melvin Glimcher is a distinguished professor at Harvard Medical School and a renowned research scientist. And so, too, is his daughter, Laurie.

    "When she was very young, it was clear that she was interested in science," Mel said.

    Her interest in science made for some interesting times.

    "So this was a fourth grade science project and the project was to look at how crayfish molt," Laurie said. "We had a whole big bucket of them. And we put them in water. And left them there in the sink overnight. And I got up the next morning, came down to the kitchen and screamed. And they were all over the floor. And it was just horrendous."

    "Wasn't ideal," Mel said.

    Sometimes Mel would take her with him to the lab.

    "She would ask, 'What's this?' 'Why?' 'What are you using this for?'" he said.

    "We would go see patients. And I think that's what enchanted me at that very young age, was the fact that you could both take care of people and you could think about ways, new ways, creative, innovative ways that you could solve some of these medical problems," Laurie said.

    Now, she has her own lab at the Harvard School of Public Health where she and her father have collaborated on a key discovery in the fight against osteoporosis.

    "It's been a privilege, really a privilege to have a dad like him, to be such a wonderful father and a wonderful role model," she said. "I love him. I love him and I know he loves me."

    Of course sometimes being a good father means being a good grandfather. Mel would often babysit Laurie's kids while she worked, proving that he's not just a distinguished scientist, but also what he calls "the fastest diaperer in the East."

    And maybe there was something magic about his diapering, because now his grandson (Laurie's son, Hugh) is a student at Harvard Medical School, following in some pretty big footsteps.

  • Bill Walton and his son Luke

    Following in your father's footsteps is a tall order when dad is almost 7 feet tall, his shoe size 17, and he's been voted one of the top 50 basketball players of all time.

    But that's exactly what Luke Walton, son of Bill Walton, has done. He's a starter on the Los Angeles Lakers.

    "I don't think I knowingly tried to follow his footsteps as a kid, but I think every kid kind of looks up to his dad and wants to do what they do," Luke said.

    He's always referred to as Bill Walton's son.

    "I don't mind it," Luke said. "I think my Dad's a great person. I think he's done great things and to be called his son, you know, I don't mind it at all, it's fine with me."

    And he's always compared to his father.

    "It's always hard when a child tries to follow in their parent's footsteps," Bill said. "And the fans will do anything to get under your skin. And that you have to train yourself that when they're comin' after you, that's because they respect you."

    "I just don't listen to them," Luke said. "It's been happening since junior high and high school. So I just made a decision, when I was younger, that I just wouldn't really pay attention to it. I'd just play how I wanted to, and it's worked out nicely."

    But, let's face it, there have been advantages to being Bill Walton's son.

    "As a kid, I mean it was really cool because we always got to go to the Final Four," Luke said. "We always got to go to the Boston Garden, the NBA finals, that type of thing. And you know being a kid that loved basketball, you know watching Larry Bird walk down the hall right in front of you was a dream come true."

    Now Luke is on the court and Bill is a fan in the stands.

    "You're not only there just to cheer 'em," Bill said. "You're there to support 'em. You're there to show your endless and unconditional love for when the ball bounces the other way."

    Being there however the ball bounces.