My Dad

My Dad died December 2, 1992. He was 62. He had cancer and treatments and it all seemed to happen very fast. The space of a year from diagnosis to the end. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

While my mother’s death anniversary makes me melancholy, each year the anniversary of my dads death makes me reflect on all that’s happened since he died. Big things like he never met my husband or child, and little things like he would have loved the world of gadgets we live in now.

For some reason I find myself measuring my adult life against his at a similar age. Getting married, having a child, buying and selling a house, burying my parents and brother, changing jobs, achieving  professional success – that’s where I am, where was he when he was 48?

It would have been 1978 and I would have been 13. A different world.

I don’t think I knew my father very well. I never understood what he did for a living until I was an adult (he was a systems analyst.) But then he wasn’t much for sharing personal stories from the past.

I learned more about him after my mom died and we had to sort out the house. I found he performed in plays in high school, was in the marching band, and, from his war ration books, discovered he either grew 5 inches between 1941 and 1942 or someone measured wrong.

Fragments and bits to weave into my memories.

This photo I happened across in an envelope in the attic shows my dad around age 10 or 11 with his sister Susie, and his brother Jack on the right. They look a bit grim, but maybe that’s just the posing. Although I swear that was the only expression I ever saw on my Uncle Jack’s face when I knew him.

Still when I look closely I can imagine my Dad’s grin lurking around the corner of his mouth in this photo. Or maybe that’s just my memory of a smile.

Till next year.

James, Sue and Jack Shaffer 1940?