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Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own

The journaling and scrapbooking techniques taught in this course provide a creative way to connect with the inner self and heal emotional wounds while documenting your story, your life in a fun and unique way. Be guided to build a foundation for writing for life.

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Daddy

By Sandra Lee Schubert | June 21, 2011

It was just after President Kennedy had died. My mother, my sister and I sat in the living room in front of the TV weeping uncontrollably. Our sorrow was uncontained, we were saturated with it. I am sure there were many families just like mine crying at the loss of a man whom we had come to love. Our sorrow was not just for this president; his death had opened a reservoir that could not be contained any longer. Mother, daughter, and sister, we were awash in the pain of death. But this is not about a long-gone President… this is for the man who had left just before, my father.

It was November too and I’m sure the air was cold; my father had been in the hospital for a long time. Initially it was for lead poisoning, a lithographer by trade, it was an occupational hazard. Then things seemed to go downhill, eventually pneumonia took hold and at 42 he was gone. He left behind a young wife, a ten-year daughter and me, just five. At the florist in the funeral home I picked out a small bouquet of flowers that I wanted to be near his hands. As with most kids at that time I was told he was sleeping. I waited with the patience of a five-year old for him to wake up. Some things are just hard to understand at that age. Afterward, we three girls wrapped things up and went into the quiet place of grief where we rested until President Kennedy got shot and washed the walls away and we were set free to mourn in full bloom.

Daddy.

I don’t really remember the sound of his voice, but, I know he entertained us with stories. At night, while my mother worked, he would vanquish the vampires and monsters from under my bed.  He made dumplings, doughy, plump and white that nestled in a rich yellow chicken broth. He would order pizza and had them remove the cheese. He passed on his allergies to me, his bad eyesight and funky teeth and high cheekbones. Like my father, on occasion, I am mistaken for being of Asian descent. I did not inherit his red hair, height or his talent for drawing. He was an artist that toiled in the basement of a print shop. He drank too much. My sister and I spent many a warm afternoon in the bars around town. Sitting at tables with red checkered table cloths, with our glasses of coke and Slim Jims, we would entertain ourselves until my mother came to get us or we finally went home.

My memories of him are finite; I could tell you all of them right now. However, I will tell you this; he was tall and red headed, with a lean lanky frame. He shaved with a bristle brush and used Old Spice afterwards. I don’t remember details of his face. I remember the things I could see at five, his feet. Like him, they were long and thin. To me his feet were the biggest things in the whole world. At night we would watch horror films and then the vanquishing of monsters commenced.

He had a hole in his heart and could whistle. He was a photographer. He was a son and a brother. He was a husband and a father. I don’t know if was a friend, or a good employee or even a good husband to my mother. Some things she kept to herself.

I know this. At night, when I dream, it is only of my mother. Each evening I hope that he will appear and we will be reunited. I still have the patience of a five-year old.

In the meantime, I wait for the day when he wakes from his long slumber. I will hold his hand, and he will tell me who he is, and I will tell him everything that I have waited so many years to say.

The grief washes away, but the longing lingers.

© Sandra Lee Schubert

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Topics: Ancestry, Families, Writing for Life | No Comments »