August 26, 2010
My flight home from Philadelphia was the longest one on record. It all has to do with frame of mind. I was at the gate in PHL waiting for the plane, texting to my friends that had just dropped me off when my phone rang. Ahh, a brother – must be important. Well, my Dad died.
Thinking back to some of the things that my Dad meant to me brings up the time he made a Japanese dollhouse for me (complete with sliding shoji screen door), because I was obsessed with all things Japanese and particularly with books written by Rumer Godden about two little Japanese dolls living in England, ‘Miss Happiness and Miss Flower’.
My Dad taught me that you leave a place better than it was when you got there, a borrowed thing was cleaned even if it was dirty when you borrowed it, be truthful even when it’s hard, put a thing back where it belongs (though he rarely did), and he tried to get me to like egg salad and Dorito chip sandwiches (ugh). He also liked pickles, mayo and peanut butter, (what a weirdo). My Dad was an inventor and one time, I was playing the game ‘statues’ in the yard of a friend that overlooked the neighborhood. Someone yelled out: look at the car with a sail on it! Of course, I’m frozen (because of the game), hear that and think “oh gawd, please, PLEASE don’t let it be my Dad”… of course it was. He was testing an idea in aerodynamics to invent a more efficient sail. To a kid like me at the time it was mortifying. To an adult like me now it’s enthralling to think that some guy would do such a thing in the 1960’s and not even think about how it would look to the neighbors. The concept was more important then the strange looks the action might incur – in fact, he didn’t even think how it would look to anyone. Pretty bold stuff for an artist like me.
Dad was brilliant, awkward, an outside-of-the-box thinker and witty. Dad was also short fused, impatient, a man of few words and yet often incredibly wise. He didn’t have time for fools and yet strangers were just friends he hadn’t met yet. He always had time to talk to check-out clerks, other people in line, or even little kids.
I will miss him terribly.