Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Daddy

It’s another Father’s Day without you. Fifty years have passed since you died. Can you believe it? Now I am even older than you were on that last June day.

So much has happened, Daddy, since that day in 1969. The world has changed in ways you could never have foreseen. Remember the beautiful gardens you created? The beautiful roses you cultivated along the end of the peninsula of our hometown, when you worked for that family? They are all gone, Daddy. The area is filled with condos and concrete. But I did manage to finally find the rose you hybrid – in Oregon of all places. I still remember how you and I used to plant my favorite flower, tulips, along the front fence of our yard.

I loved riding in your taxi cab with you, Daddy. That big square yellow box with the jump seats in the rear was one of the few places I had you to myself. Even though your skin was blue-black, you would always hang your left elbow out the window and it would get even darker. You had a regular group of people you would take to and pick up from the train station. They don’t do that anymore, Daddy. Cab drivers rarely offer personal service anymore. You used to tell me I could always rely on a cab driver to get me home. I no longer trust cab drivers, Daddy. It has made life a bit scarier.

After dinner and homework, you would take those of the six of us still living at home with you to clean buildings. I was in charge of dusting the rows and rows of desks where all the women sat in the daytime. When I got older, I had to clean the ladies bathroom – that taught me women could be icky.  But I still remember the wonderful pictures of those ladies celebrating my birth, all because they liked you.

You always tried to keep our house a home. Not just for us, but every family member. How many of our relatives lived in the upstairs apartment when they had no other place to go? How many breakfasts, lunches and dinners became family gatherings? How many times did you make modifications on the house to preserve a home for all of us? We even had wakes, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, Easters, and yes, Father’s Days in that fourteen room home.

I have so much more to say, Daddy, but there will never be enough space. Since you left, I finished college in Connecticut; completed my Master’s in Pennsylvania; married that guy you never liked and moved to Nome, Alaska; left that guy you never liked and moved to Kodiak where I married a guy you just might have liked,; moved to Juneau; went to Oregon when my husband retired; completed another Master’s degree; tried to complete a doctorate in Washington state; I came out of the closet; worked for Rutgers University in New Jersey; and now live with my partner in Miami. My husband and I are still married and about to celebrate our 22nd anniversary and life is about to change again.

In the midst of all these changes, Daddy, I still hear your voice telling me you will always love me. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you too.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Lydia, you stirred memories of Uncle Normie that I had long forgotten. I remember him driving us in a taxi, and the jump seats. I remember his blue black skin and mostly his easy smile, just like Gramp. I had forgotten about the apartment in your house but I did remember the family gatherings in your yard and tons of people there. I remember him with a camera...maybe I got that from him. I remember his funeral too. You had a wonderful father. You are blessed.

    Isn't is something how all of our elders always had two or three jobs to make ends meet back then? That also reminded me how Nana was a cook, a laundress, a babysitter...Gramp was a chauffeur, a coal truck driver, and handyman. They worked so hard.