show and tell: daddy’s girl
In honor of father’s day, I thought I’d share an old photo of me with mine. (Since I prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front, this may be the most recent photo I ever post of myself. Plus I was still a cute blonde back then…)
It was the summer of 1972. “The Godfather” had been released in theatres just a few months earlier. Hot on the charts were Don Maclean’s “American Pie,” Carole King’s “Tapestry,” “Stairway to Heaven,” Neil Young, and one of my personal favorites, “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos.
It was the summer of the horrific Munich massacre at the Olympics, and the war in Vietnam was still escalating. The summer began with the scandalous Watergate break-in before the inexplicable re-election of Nixon, which led to his shameful resignation two years later…
I was just 3 years old. Despite the mad events in the world, those were still the golden days in our home — before my grandfather died, before my parents started fighting, before everything went to shit. We simply appeared to be an idyllic suburban middle-class family, enjoying a day at the beach…
As the youngest and only girl child, I was very attached to my dad and probably begged him to accompany me on the carousel. Some of my very first memories are from that long hot summer.
Later, after my parents divorced and before my dad remarried, before he got sick, I was an angsty teenager constantly arguing with my mom. I asked my dad if I could come live with him. I don’t know whether he said no because it would have cramped his newly single lifestyle, interfered with my schooling, or upset my mother too much. But it crushed me.
Soon he remarried a woman 20 years younger and had another child, who I wished with all my heart would be a boy so I could remain his little girl, even at 15. When his wife entered the third trimester, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. A month before he died just a week shy of his 50th birthday, his son was born. I was 16.
In my mind, several distinct memories capture the golden era which came before all that madness — the moments frozen in time when I was still daddy’s little girl — barbecues out back, summer family vacations in the old country squire station wagon, baseball game family picnics, ‘learning’ to drive at a young age by sitting on his lap, swimming on his back at the community pool, and those long hot summer days at the beach…
Happy father’s day, dad. I miss you always.