Saturday, February 28, 2009

This Is A Gift for my Dad

This is a tribute to my dad. He and I didn't always see eye to eye. In fact, it's more accurate to say we didn't get along very well most of my life. We loved each other, but we often didn't like each other.

He died of cancer in 2003 and we became good friends in the last year of his life. Perhaps we finally could both relax enough to drop all the masks and expectations that no longer served us. We had a lot in common - a lot we didn't even know we had in common. One of the things we shared was a love of writing and a love for books.

He got serious about his writing a few years before my mother died. He wrote a lot of short stories and some poems. He dreamed of publishing a book one day. He didn't expect anyone would read it, he just wanted to get it published.

He had a lot of stories to tell. He grew up in a family that was Euro-Bohemian-Victorian, if there is such a thing. They had old world ideas and manners, a strong creative and intellectual curiosity, and some notions held over from the turn of the century. He grew up in the Bronx. He spent his summers in the Hudson River valley, a place where his heart took root. He was a Romantic working in the corporate world. He was a philosopher/poet who was too self-conscious to live the life he'd have truly enjoyed. He was not an easy man, but he was a good man and he felt things deeply.

Dad had a very organized file of stories painstakingly typed with two fingers on an old word processor, copied in duplicated and carefully paper clipped and sorted with little handwritten labels. I kept it after he died.

I sat on the floor in my dining room today and reread what my dad had written. It's a throwback to an earlier style, a more formal combination of sentiment and intellect than is fashionable today. But that's who my dad was. And I realized there's one last thing I can do for him. I can publish his work.

Like my dad, I don't expect anyone to read it. That's not the purpose.

It's just something I can do for him that I think he'd really like. And that feels pretty good.

So bear with me - there's a lot of typing to be done and things may show up here slowly. But they'll eventually get here.

World, meet my dad. Dad, go ahead and say your piece.

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