Remember the first time we went to London as a family? Elka and I were in high school, and very into English rock–oh no that was me. We were all into Carnaby Street and English fashions. It seemed so foreign then; the ambulances that blared a noise that sounded a bit too much like Nazi movies; tinned fruit for breakfast.
I apologize for thinking it cute that you and mommy liked Carnaby Street so much and that Elka and I kind of made fun of and kind of loved your blue Carnaby Street blazer you were to wear for the next 20something years. I don’t remember what mommy bought. Mini dresses and skirts I know as she had better legs than I did.
You were younger than I am now. Bummer. I was going to ask if you thought about death and/or getting old and then I remembered two things: that trip where you “misplaced” our passports and other things constantly as you were convinced you were rapidly becoming demented. Your father and mommy’s father had died at 55. You thought if you were going to survive physically your mind wasn’t.
Your mind survived and you went onto as much glory as a CPA can have. It’s strange as I can’t remember you loving the arts particularly, but you loved artists, writers and a certain Russian male ballet superstar who agreed with your political views. Fortunately I have blocked your politics from my mind. Alone we hardly talked politics. After the teenage and post teen years when all we did was fight except on vacation or in restaurants–the neutral zones, we worked hard at getting along.
When I moved back to New York and Boston University said I could take any three courses at The New School to graduate you lobbied hard for me to take Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s course on Death & Dying with you. Wow daddy what I would have done later to have taken that course. But then I didn’t want to take a course on dying and I didn’t want to take a class with you. What if I met somebody? What was I supposed to do? “Oh I would love to go out with you. Let’s just say good night to my father.”
Of course you were a big draw. Most of my boyfriends and male friends adored you. I sometimes wondered who they liked better. I know it wasn’t your politics though I think you toned it down a bit for my friends. Poor mommy. I don’t know if you ever knew that you were permanently kicked out of husband’s night at mommy’s Brandeis group.
As they met one Saturday night a month and most of your friends and immediate cousins were dead or worse–worse meaning living in Florida–that was a big thing. Mommy could still see then and would literally graph your nights as you needed to be out every Saturday night or have company. I think I vowed then to truly learn to like myself as we’re all left alone at certain times in our lives.
I have to remember all the little things about you. What made an artist ask if he could draw you when we were at a restaurant your last Father’s Day?
After you died a nurse from the hospital called and spoke to Elka–mommy and I were at the diner:
I just want you to know how handsome your father looks.
In retrospect that’s kind of weird but it was very comforting. You never faded into the woodwork. I was so proud when we meet somewhere in Manhattan as you looked so great. Though I hated it when maitre de’s would try to give us the private banquette for lovers. You of course found it funny, and funnier when I would say rather primly “he’s my father. Please.”
When I came home from the former Soviet Union, I remember thinking how old and tired you looked. It was the first time I had ever thought that about you. You were 75 and had less than two years left on this earth.
One night you were waiting for me on a Ralph Lauren bed outside 40 Carats in Bloomingdales. I was two or more hours late as I was working in Jamaica and the subways had been out. It was the first time I added “not quite frail” to you. You said you were going to leave if I hadn’t come then but I know you would have waited.
The Academy Awards were on four or five days later. I told you I wasn’t going to watch and you yelled at me for not watching a “historic important” event. You didn’t understand the concept of having to be up at 5:30 to be at work on time, and I was so energetic and young….You went on and on. I ended up yesing you just to get off the phone. I yes’d you a lot. You would plan a trip to Europe for me, I would get there and change all the reservations. You never minded. You just had to be right, had to do the planning and probably would have traveled for me or with me if given the opportunity.
I always have wished that wasn’t our last conversation but you know, we had enough great ones.
On March 31, it will be eighteen years since your death. I badly need a center. Somebody to talk to. I hope you don’t mind if I chose you.
Both this house thing, and blogging have me crazed. Many of my blogging friends have stopped blogging or blog randomly now. I don’t feel part of a community. When I first began to blog I loved that feeling of being part of a fairly new grassroots movement. Sometimes I feel very much my age, suffering from early dementia, and jealousy of every younger blogger who can remember her name and do ten things while spelling her name for the order taker because the web site’s she’s ordering from is down. I know I sound bitter and really don’t mean to. The past two and a half years have been overwhelming and the two years before that–constant dental work–weren’t a picnic. I should take all my skymiles, earned from the renovation, and go somewhere, but I live at the beach and would feel too guilty. And the rapidly dwindling resources…unfortunately a lot are dwindling because of the stock market not my buying. This has led me to scale down the renovation. Oh life, can’t live with it or without it…
I feel sad that blogging wasn’t around when I was in my 30’s or even a bit later as I led a much more exciting Sex in the City type life. Few people care about memories, it seems. They want it to happen today or preferably sometime tomorrow if they can learn about it today. I will probably feel different about this after I move in and the shock of actually living in a house I own with all my own stuff wears off.
I just ordered a day bed with extra mattress for the guest room and a very conservative, for me, couch. Almost everything else can wait until I’m in the house. The kitchen cabinets are coming next Wednesday. Guess I’m free to tackle taxes and find the source of misinformation the health insurer underwriters have about me. Though how I can prove I never was hospitalized, without doctors notes affirming to that, is beyond my understanding. Please excuse my frenzied anxious state. I know that if pre-existing clauses end next year, they’re going to add a clause saying it doesn’t affect me and me alone. I am my father’s daughter. We major in worrying and thinking up absurd things that nobody else would think of and then it does come true. I’m very into positive thinking and I strongly believe we’re in charge of our destinies to a point, but old habits die hard–and the to a point means we have to acknowledge somethings in life can’t be changed just because we want them to be