Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Only Six Days Into This Blogathon Thing and Already I'm Resorting to Posting Topless Photos of Myself

In fact we're all topless here: me, my dad, and Gumby, who for some reason I named Rajah. It's May, 1967, which makes me not quite four. We were in either Jerusalem and Tel Aviv -- we spent a year in each place but I'm sketchy as to order. I guess it was hot.

My father died ten and a half years ago. Strangely, I've missed him more these past couple of years than in the preceding ones. Rather, the first stretch was your basic mixed bag of grief, guilt, loss, lightening, sadness, relief, acceptance, guilt again, and this is different. Lately I've been struck more by a sense of shrieking unfairness.

If he were alive now we'd be close in a way that we weren't when I was a child or sullen teenager or self-absorbed young adult. There were a number of years when I had finally achieved some kind of rough maturity but he was already an invalid, edging back into perpetual childhood. We never did find common ground. If he were around now, with all his wits about him, he'd be so proud of me. He'd love what I do for a living, and he'd want to talk to me about what I was working on, what I was reading, what I was listening to. He'd be endlessly amused at the fact that my boss turned out to have been a boyhood friend and neighbor of his. He'd like Jeff very much -- finally, a man he would have approved of, whom he never got to meet. And he'd be so incredibly proud of Gideon, his one and only grandson.

We'd be close; I know this. I can see just how it would be. He'd call a couple of times a week, always while we were eating dinner, and want to talk to me about some review he read or something in the news. And I'd roll my eyes and put my plate up where the dog couldn't reach it, and go out to pace in the yard while I talked, and I'd tell him everything. And after a while I'd come back in with my ears ringing, since I really kind of hate talking on the phone, and I'd say, "Jeez, my dad."

That eye-rolling -- it's a child's prerogative and best defense and endless link to those who gave her life, and I miss the option. I had to call my son tonight and say something dopey, just so I could hear him on the other end, rolling his.

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Blogger Sue Dickman said...

This is really lovely--and a cute picture as well. If the topless photos come out on day 6, I'm quite interested in what's to come! Day 17 will surely be exciting, not to mention Day 26.

11:35 PM  
Blogger lynn said...

That was incredibly moving, Lisa.

(After cracking up - the picture took a couple of seconds to load and you had me wondering...)

12:12 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

What a great picture. Look at how little you are; your father's hand is as long as your thigh. And look at that room. You are already surrounded by books and writerly things. That typewriter is magnificent.

Interestingly (maybe only to me) today is my father's birthday. He's been dead for 18 years and there is still a tiny part of me that wishes I missed him, but I don't.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Rooie said...

Lovely post, Lisa. And I love your expression.

I've been posting some old family pictures on my blog lately and was sort of worried about how boring they would be for others. But no...I've decided I love seeing these old photos...and therefore, so shall everyone else!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

This was touching and beautifully written, Lisa.

12:32 AM  

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