“Oh quickly disappearing photograph in my more slowly disappearing hand”*
Today is the birthday of our pater, who would be 95. He died 25 years ago.
As I grow older, I realize that I take after him much more than I had previously thought. Although I was much (so much) closer to my mother, we were not as alike as my sister and she were. I was always the shy one, and my father was like that. Also, my mother was the really intelligent one of the pair. My father and I were/are just smart enough to impress some people.
My father was a historian who had his heroes, as do I. His tended to be military heroes, like Napoleon and MacArthur and Grant. It would be interesting now to talk to him about them. What was the appeal of Bonaparte? (He was a collector, among many things, of Napoleon memorabilia.)
I think my father would have really enjoyed the job that I have now, working at a big university in a small school where lots of interesting, intelligent people come every day to learn about interesting things without the pressure of grades or homework and the interference of parents and peers. It is the perfect place for people with minds like ours–curious about many things, but without the desire/drive to go too far. I finished my master’s thesis in great part to show him that I could (he didn’t finish his). I’m not sure if he noticed.
Well, self-knowledge is a good thing. It keeps you humble and it can keep you out of trouble.
When I toast ANCIII tonight–only once because he was, after all, a terrific alcoholic–I will also toast the wonderful Doris Day, who turned 95 yesterday. You go, girl!
P.S. I Watched The Outsiders (1983) and the book is better. Big Surprise.
*”Portrait of My Father as a Young Man” by Rainer Maria Rilke