the family and friends who knew my dad best knew someone i did not. i was in 3rd grade when my dad came out, it was the mid-90s, and we were living in a not-so-understanding time in the middle of indiana. my classmates were appalled and would frequently ask, “does this mean you’re gay too?” an illogical conclusion, yes, but i was only 8 years old so it was also an embarrassing and hurtful and confusing conclusion. i had no idea what to say. maybe?
after my parents divorced, my sister and i lived with our mom and, though our dad lived close by, he was always cresting in and out of some sort of state of financial, physical, or emotional instability. in order to protect myself, i quickly built a large wall between the two of us and, in doing so, i stopped getting to know him and, subsequently, him getting to know me. when he passed away in march of 2010, i was a stunned 23 year old, but i was also just a hurt and confused 8 year old.
it’s now been 2 years and 7 days since my dad died. the reason i’m writing this today is because march 27, 2012 would have been his 63rd birthday. while i can’t rewrite his past or tear down the wall built between us, i realized i still have some time to get to know him. so, in honor of my dad’s 63rd birthday, i decided to reach out to his friends and family for photos and suggestions of things he really, really loved (a huge thank you to all those who got back to me). below you’ll find a list of what everyone had to say. i hope you enjoy reading them as much as i did discovering them.
things kim really loved:
challah french toast
chocolate chip banana bread
tuna melts (secret ingredient = worcestershire sauce)
soda pop (root beer in particular)
his stuffed seal
the moody blues
1,001 arabian nights
scrabble (and his unwavering capacity to win)
boggle (equally, with his relentless intent to win)
reading a good book
camping with his family
going to shul
teaching nursery school
remembering a name or a fact from the past
making you believe he was remembering a fact from the past
playing kalookie with ida marsh
riding the bus to clifton’s with ida marsh
laughing through tears with ida marsh
having a scotch (or two) before shabbos dinner
falling asleep right after shabbos dinner
running the minneapolis marathon (and completing it)
selling ice to eskimos
gene & marvin
jenny & me
happy birthday, dad.
ps – from top to bottom, the photos are as follows – – – > my dad and me, my dad and my sister, my dad in israel, my dad and my mom on their first date, and my dad at a fancy dinner thing.