I put the posts on top of this in the sidebar category. I’m a bit in love with this post. Here’s what my Dad wrote when adopting me.
My father was a CPA who disliked accountants. Found them boring. He did love accounting. I thought of how ashamed he would have been during Enron, and he would be more ashamed now of accountants role in the subprime mess that is affecting us all.
As usual I thank Bone for the words
Seventeen years and five days ago, we were meeting at Bloomingdale’s, 40 Carrots, for dinner. I was working for SSI, in Jamaica, Queens, and all the subways there went down. Only the truly rich had cells then and it was a bitch getting in touch with you. But I knew you would call mommy, your personal drill sergeant, psychologist, and the love of your life. Oh how you fought, oh how you made up.
When I finally got to Bloomingdale’s,almost three hours later, I saw you sitting on a bed decorated by Ralph Lauren. I thought you looked so old and tired. Funny the things we remember the last time we saw somebody really alive. You said you were just about to leave but I knew you would have waited for me forever and a day.
I don’t remember what we talked about but I know you asked me a question or two about my job. You liked me working for Social Security but you thought I should have been a claims rep for SSA with the “normal” people, and not work for SSI. It was one of our many ongoing arguments.
The following Monday night, you yelled at me because I didn’t want to watch The Academy Awards. You said The Academy Awards was a significant event. I said i had to get up at 5:30 and sleep took precedence. We settled on me recording it, though you couldn’t understand how I could miss such an event, live.
Uh, daddy, Monday had been your poker night most of my life. I know you were an early advocate of multi-tasking, but I could never see how you could focus on an award show when there was poker to play and interesting people to talk to.
It wasn’t the first moon landing, something else we argued about. I never told you that you were right. It should have taken precedence over my teenage love life.
The following morning you yelled at mommy, because she was there, about Kevin Costner being an idiot who didn’t deserve to win. I have always been proud of you for being an early-Kevin Costner hater.
Nothing was abnormal about breakfast, you had a glass of orange juice, wheat toast, fake cream cheese mommy would make out of pot cheese, and a cup of Postum.
Then you went down to your office. I don’t know exactly when you had the stroke. Mommy was going out and she yelled to tell you. You didn’t answer. She went down and found you. Elka and I have always laughed, because that’s what people do, at the thought of 5’0,” 100 pounds, mommy trying to pick you up.
You were supposed to pick Elka up at the train station as she was working for you. You insisted that both of us work for you at different times. You thought that Elka would make a great CPA and envisioned both of you in practice together but you really wanted us to understand the stock market. We do as much as anybody can these days. It’s changed so much.
Nobody picked up the phone at the house and Elka took a cab. By the time she got to the house there was an ambulance and the entire town fire department. I can’t imagine what Elka felt.
I didn’t get any of my famous “feelings.” It was just another day at work. Then I went home to my apartment and called the house. Mommy answered. Something about her voice was a bit off, and I screamed:
“Daddy had a little stroke. Nothing major. Nothing to come home for.”
You were mommy’s world. For the first time in her life, at the worst of times, she went into deep denial. I listened to her but by the next day went to the hospital after work. I put my hand on yours. You held it up to your mouth and kissed it. Elka claimed that it was a reflex action, but I have always believed you knew it was me.
You gave us so many gifts over the years. The greatest gift was the six days you lay in your hospital bed “like a lox,” as mommy always said. We had time to get used to you dying.
They were going to make us tell them whether or not we wanted life support the following Monday but on Sunday your breathing was different. It was the breathing Native Americans think is the soul leaving the body. I would like to think so also. Elka and Eddie went out to dinner that night. Mommy and I stayed for a couple of hours. As we were leaving I left the room so mommy could be alone with you. I couldn’t help watch her throw her body on yours. It was so out of character I almost laughed.
Not an hour later you died. We never talked about it but we knew you were too considerate to die while we were there, or to hang on any longer.
After they called to tell us, a nurse called to tell us how handsome you looked. You were a very handsome man. Why couldn’t you ever photograph the way you truly looked? Even in your MTV commercial, you looked, well, bewildered.
I think you had too much personality. No photograph could ever capture that.
I’m not sentimental when it comes to pictures or a person’s possessions. The only things I kept were the kaleidoscope Elka and I gave you two years earlier, and the Turkish shoe shine box you carried all the way through Turkey. There’s a long story about it that I can never remember though I must have heard it 80 times.
Possessions are just a token. It’s the real man I remember, and write about so that you will live in your granddaughter’s memory and maybe a few more people will learn about you.
The decade after your death was difficult. Mommy went totally blind. They say a decade begins and ends with significant events. My 90’s began with your death and ended with mommy’s in 01.
I hope there is some kind of afterlife and you are somewhere where Postum is always available. I hope you found mommy and ushered her up. I can imagine you arguing over many things and making up, but what do I know? I’m down here.
You were mommy’s God. Men asked her out:
But how can I when I had the best?
I will always carry you both in my heart and soul.
Love for all time
I do carry my parents with me. Just wish they could answer a few questions. There is a second part to this letter I will post in a few days.