Monday, June 20, 2011

for watson on father's day

i never cared much for hallmark-holidays like father's day.  but seeing a bunch of lovely tributes to their fathers by facebook friends,  i remember what i never forget--how lucky i was to have had my father for 50 years.  he died in 1994. someday i may be able, or moved, to write about him.  he was in his way an amazing man, and most of who i am, positive and negative, comes from being his daughter.  this photo appeared, surprisingly, a few years ago, in a local newspaper in north carolina, as a new ad. my uncle in charlotte came across it. i knew they kept files of model's pictures and often used old ones, but this one is from the early 1950s.  how pop would have enjoyed the fact that this was in an article on finance!  he never used the word capitalist, but he despised the idea.  he found it ludicrous that he would get paid hourly what the workers who made products he advertised were paid weekly.  it never made us rich; he rarely got all that much work, but he raised a family in lower middle class comfort on his earnings. he taught me, again never using the words, to be a leftist. he taught me to distrust the motives of business and government, and to enjoy things for their use, not their prestige value.  he taught me to love reading, and frequently brought me books from a second hand book store.  to this day i love the fact of a second-hand book more than the fact of a new book. the new book brings its contents; the old book brings its contents and its history.  each page contains the knowledge that someone long ago read the same page and went on to a life i knew nothing about: this stranger who touched me and through whom i touched the page. it's a strange and delicate but deep intimacy.

  pop also taught me a huge loathing for predigested truths; think, question everything. ( sometimes as i grew up it became painful for us both when my thinking produced different answers than his did.)  not least of all, he taught me some of his own tastes: he gave me j.b. priestley and p.g. wodehouse.  now when i read a new second-hand wodehouse novel or short story, i am experiencing not only wodehouse and the previous owners of the book, but pop as well.  we make a wonderful company...we make, as priestley might write, 'good companions.'  happy father's day, pop!

1 comment:

Baysage said...

Touching, Karen. My dad was everything your dad was not. Everything. I don't think he ever questioned anything passed on by an authority in his life. He died in 2005. He and I were not close. I envy you.