"Sweet Daddy" Herman CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 15, 2000) - To the casual observer, Kim Wallace is a single mother of four childeren. Her oldest, Brooke, is a beautiful, composed 13-year-old entering her teen-age years. Her second child,...
"Sweet Daddy" Herman
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 15, 2000) - To the casual observer, Kim Wallace is a single mother of four childeren. Her oldest, Brooke, is a beautiful, composed 13-year-old entering her teen-age years. Her second child, Brandy, is an athletically sleek, go-getting 11-year-old who can never sit still. Her third child, Brittany, is a cute, rambunctious, 9-year-old who sings on command. But the real handful of the group is Kim's 36-year-old child, Kenny, a mischievous, fun-loving driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Wallace has the energy of a lightning bolt, and as a kid, the St. Louis native was always in trouble. So much so, he earned the nickname "Herman" after a local comic strip character similar to Dennis the Menace. His gift for gab is so great that when he was little, his family members would actually pay him five dollars to keep quiet. But before you wonder how Kim could manage three kids, let alone a hyperactive race car driver, she is quick to point out what a remarkable father Wallace is to their children.
"When Father's Day comes around, there is no doubt who will get the presents in our house," said Kim. "On his days off, he is always taking the kids somewhere. A lot of men enjoy spending time with "the boys," but Kenny would really prefer to be playing with our children."
Fatherhood comes naturally for Wallace. He has been able to relate to his girls, because he is still a kid at heart. As a father, he has set boundaries and guidelines for his children to live by. It's important to him that his kids grow up right, and they seem to listen to him because they know he's looking out for their best interest.
"He's always there for us," said Brooke. "If I were ever to get hurt, I know he would be there for me because when Brittany hurt her spleen, he stayed with her all night at the hospital. I love him very much, and if I could do anything for him on Father's Day, I would tell him that I'm happy he's my dad."
Unfortunately for the girls, all this love and attention doesn't come without some sort of price. As payment, the Wallace girls are forced to listen to a smorgasbord of dancing, jokes and public singing that would strip an entire supply of "cool points" from any teenager if a classmate were to ever walk by.
Curiously enough, Wallace has picked up a partner in crime over the years. Not that he needed one; he just likes having a teammate.
"Brittany is the singer, and I guess she got it from me, 'Sweet Daddy'," said Wallace. "People say that she's just like me. The other two are more like their mother. They're bashful when I watch them sing or dance, just like Kim. Brittany is like me in that she doesn't have a shy bone in her body. When we go to the mall, Brittany and I will start singing, and the other two will cover our mouths and say, 'stop it dad, you're embarrassing us.' It's fun seeing how they react to that. If they can't take a little bit of teasing, then I'm going to toughen them up a little to prepare them for the real world."
"He doesn't embarrass me because they say I'm just like him," added Wallace's 9-year-old accomplice. "He only embarrasses Brooke and Brandy. We embarrass my sisters by singing everywhere. We make up happy songs, and sing them in the mall."
But the public humiliation is a small price to pay for a wonderful father. When asked, the girls said they wouldn't change a thing. A perfect example is when Kenny used to return from races with toys from whichever city he had raced in the previous weekend. One day Brooke began to cry as Kenny prepared to leave for a race. Kenny told her he would be back soon, and he would bring back a toy. Brooke's reply was 'I have enough toys, I want you.'
"It's days like that that remind me that I have the all-American dream," said Wallace. "My kids are everything to me. If they're gone, I miss the noise because they're a part of my life. Loving them and raising them has become part of my daily routine. When they're not around, I'm like Rain Man missing Judge Wapner at 4 p.m.; I run around screaming at the top of my lungs looking for them. I just enjoy having them around. Raising those kids is a chore that takes half a lifetime, but it's one I love to do.