Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pictured: Me and Daddy, 1965

Happy memories that I have of my Daddy:

(1) When I was little, still wetting my bed (4 or 5?)... If I woke up in the night and I'd wet the bed, I'd call out for Daddy, because he wouldn't get mad. If, on the other hand, I woke up in the night and hadn't wet the bed and just wanted a drink of water or something, I'd call out for Mommy. I knew that Daddy was the nicer, less-judgmental one!
(2) When I was 5 or 6 or so... When my Daddy came home from work, he smelled, in a GOOD way. I was a little freak -- I always asked for my Daddy's musky T-shirt to take to bed with me, and I'd sleep with his T-shirts.
(3) At 10 or 11, going to the Air Force-base swimming pool. (Though NOT the time that we drove there playing "The Sweat Game"--windows of the car rolled up in the Texas heat, suffering/sweating utterly, to see who would give in first and ask for the air-conditioning -- I was as stubborn as he was. Only to find that the pool was closed that day!) I loved riding on his back in the water. I also liked other base-things, like pinball and bowling.
(4) Staying up late and watching movies.
(5) Taking a Reader's Digest word-test with him, and scoring higher, and him not getting mad.
(5) Post-divorce: As a college student, showing him poems by Plath and Sexton. (He found Plath "angry" and liked Sexton.)

I also appreciate the family myth (told to me by my mother) that in 1968, when we lived in South Carolina: The day Martin Luther King was shot, my father stayed up all night sitting by the door with a rifle, just in case "angry Negroes" came to white neighborhoods seeking revenge. In 2009, this sounds crazy, but in 1968, many Southerners, especially in South Carolina, really did fear this as a possibility. I do honor my father's sitting-up-with-the-rifle-all-night 1968 protectiveness of his family.

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