In just six days it will be the anniversary of my father’s death. For whatever reason, my sister and I go through a series of memory acts. I guess you can call them that. We drag out photos, letters and other memorabilia that takes us back to a time when dad was still alive.
It feels healing. It feels like we’re going through a cleansing. It feels necessary.
So, this year was no different. I started digging around in my old cedar chest, the one that houses articles of his that make my mind spin back to when I was just a toddler, just a grade school-er, just a teen. The photos look creased and bent, lined and stained from years of use. My favorites are the old black & white pictures with the crinkle-cut edges. The tape my mother used to hold them in place has long since lost its stickiness and has turned yellow and the photos sit sadly clustered at the bottom of each page in-between their black manila backing and the clear plastic sheet protectors.
As I touch each photo, it feels like some precious historical document. It is to me, anyway.
Last night, after my sister had pulled out some of my father’s writings—he liked to call them his “journals.” They came to us throughout our lives with him in the way of letters through the mail. She sent the copies to me via email. What a treat to read his words again after so many years of not seeing them, probably seven years at least. But, there they were, scanned into a PDF file. My father was a humorist and an incredible storyteller. He wrote in a stream of consciousness and what develops throughout his stories is a comical safari adventure packed with sexual innuendo and a whole bunch of pain inflicted on his main character.
I curled up on the couch and, because my sister scanned them into landscape format, I held my laptop like a book and scrolled down each priceless page. Tears flowed from my eyes—not because of any nostalgia but because the stories are so darned funny. I was roaring with laughter. My dad was quite a character.
I do miss him terribly. Even now, after fifteen years of his passing.
Well, today, I’m rather busy and need to write “to be continued” at this point. See, I must go off-island to do a reading gig from a new novel-in-progress at the Seattle Repertory Theatre for the Northwest Playwright’s Alliance. It begins at 7 p.m. And, if I want to get there on time I’ll have to close down my computer and scurry about in order to get ready.
However, I did want to say that I will be taking snippets of dad’s journals and posting a few over the next week. What will that do for me, as a writer? I suppose nothing except, perhaps, give my readers some insight into who I am and how my personality grew into, well, me.
Hope you’ll read tomorrow’s posting. It will be fun.