I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Fancy Man

Sitting across the kitchen table from my father, as I did my homework and he paid bills, I disliked what I was doing, just as much as he disliked his task. Sometimes when homework was done, and he had addressed his last envelope, I’d be doodling and he’d be writing a letter. As I struggled to get just the right image, I’d watch as he effortlessly created a message esthetically impressive and emotionally perfect.

Watching his fountain pen race across the page I marveled at how each intricate swirl and line not only created a beautiful picture to look at, but that the drawings, each in their own perfect row created words like love, longing and loss. He always addressed our birthday cards and gift tags; his font was one of pride in making the most of paper, pen and sentiment.

Though sometimes difficult to read, because it was so elaborate, my father’s writing looked like black lace on a white tablecloth.

My mother’s penmanship, the ‘Palmer Method’ she called it, also a series of lovely lines, was easier to read and more practical looking. She was the list maker for groceries and to-do’s. Hers was the hand which wrote the teachers our sick-notes and penned notations on the calendar for school events. For Hallmark, my father’s writing would have been the cover of the card, my mother’s the inside saying.

To my mother and father neat penmanship was as important as an ironed blouse and a pressed crease in a pair of slacks.

“If it is a first impression, make a good one,” they’d say, “and if it’s not, your words should at least be well groomed.”
The way my father wrote, with frills, was at odds with the kind of man he was. Straight forward and plain speaking he did not embellish expression and yet he was so funny he'd have us on the floor laughing. He was a cabinet maker and builder. In his wood shop he had every hand tool available and every power tool Sears sold. That from his rough and scarred hands such delicacy of design immerged, spoke of his artistic side.

He was a draftsman, using perfectly sharpened pencils and exacting rules of measurement to create the drawings which communicated to builders how they were supposed to do their job; his proudest accomplishment, helping to design and draw the piping system of the nation’s first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus.

I was at the launching of the Nautilus in 1954 with my family and though I don’t remember the specifics of the day I do remember the joy and awe my father felt because he had been a part of such an important project. His pride was what spilled over, pride in a job well done, as well as pride in the way he signed his name.

What are you proud of ?

1 comment:

  1. I am unabashedly proud of this little piece I wrote about my dad.