Parental update — 091110

Pop will be gone a month tomorrow.  Mom is still as happy as a clam.  Elizabeth says she’s missed him — for about an hour and a half.  Michael says he grieved on the plane coming here.  All I see when I think of Pop is a waning old man in a hospital bed during that last week.

I keep thinking to myself that Pop isn’t getting due respect; that we should be feeling worse for having lost him.  Are we cold, heartless people?  Was he such a negative part of our lives that we’re inwardly celebrating his removal?  Yet, he’s gone; and we’ve moved on.

So I’ve decided to make this post a fond and positive remembrance of my father from my early childhood years.

I recall:

  • Running around on the roof of our 2-story Dutch Colonial in New Jersey as Pop replaced all of the shingles
  • Learning how to use tools at his workbench in the basement
  • He built a grotto in the backyard and a beautiful stone lawn separator in the front yard…and I helped
  • Spending a Saturday with him at his dingy office in the Garment District in Manhattan
  • A few years later, spending a day with him at his plush office in nearby Westchester County
  • First & second season Mets games at the Polo Grounds whenever his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers returned from L.A.
  • Seeing Jim Bunning’s “Perfect Game” against the Mets and bringing Pop the New York Daily News the next day which proclaimed that feat on its front page
  • His painting a masterful mural on a wall of our New Jersey home
  • His prolific writing of sacred music, and taking cartons of his work to a publisher in Fair Lawn where nothing ever came of them.  He didn’t want that kind of notoriety, and signed each work: MF, for ‘Magnificent Fraud’
  • In my mid-teens, surreptitiously taking our gold Rambler American out for a ride three times.  Obviously, Pop didn’t murder me.

I would also like to remember Mom & Pop’s long-time North Carolina friend, George, who said to me just last year, “Your father is my friend.”  He talked fondly about their first meeting and about how they grew and maintained their close relationship over the years.

And finally, a hand-written letter we received four days after Pop died.  It’s from his former boss of some thirty years.

Returning last night from an extended trip, I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Emery’s death.

My wife and I extend to you and your family our deepest sympathy at this time of loss and sorrow.  I hope that at the appropriate time, you will allow me to visit with you so that I can personally convey to you my heartfelt condolences.

[A] mutual friend introduced me to Emery.  He joined [our company] and immediately became a most contributing, faithful and professional member of our team.  From the beginning, I was aware of Emery’s many creative skills and gifts far beyond those he used in his day-to-day professional activities.  He was a delight to work with and to see him work with others in all circumstances and “normal” daily events as well as under often stressful conditions.  Without having to talk about it, I always felt there was a bond between us!

I will cherish the memory of Emery, who has entered into the peace of eternal life, for the remainder of my days!

Warm wishes to you and yours.


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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One Response to Parental update — 091110

  1. Elizabeth says:

    …and I remember:

    – Pop making scrambled eggs on Sunday mornings using flour to increase the yield

    – Pop insisting that my college pursuits were a waste of time

    – helping Fred and me pitch a tent in the pines of the backyard so we could have a sleep-out

    – taking us to Mets games and camping in Quebec

    – putting up with constant dinner parties and the stress that preceded and followed them

    – teaching me that “he who sings, prays twice”

    – being the demanding and somewhat daunting choir director at St Catherines

    – telling me 10 yrs ago that he was proud of me

    – never cheating on Mom

    – always being a reliable breadwinner with no sick days off from work

    – reminding me that I’ll hate it when men stop whistling at me from cars

    – teaching me to ride a bike

    – wearing his Ridgewood sweatshirt that I will now wear proudly

    – reminding me to get my finger out of the way before I hammer something

    – his art and music. What a gift to all of us!

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