I was listening to NPR's interview with Alejandro Escovedo. He talked about life and his father. He lost his father during his recovery from Hepatitis C. His father was 97 when he passed away, and Alejandro talked about his relationship in words and song. He spoke of the love his parents had for each other in one of the songs on the CD.
Fathers are interesting. We forget as adults that we saw them as parents than people. His parents were expressive with each other and life throughout their 60-plus year marriage. And I've read about other people talk about their parents and the same idea that they expressed the love in all its many facets in life, and I long thought about the times my parents didn't express themselves and their love in front of us kids.
My father was a very quiet, introverted person. He rarely talked with his children. Our memories are often of vacations and the occasional event in our lives but rarely of the daily lives we had as a family. Our Mom taught us to be independent kids. We made our own lunches for school and breakfast once we could learn, and we cleaned afterward along with our rooms. As the children of a military officer our house had to be perfect and we had to behave ourselves.
What's ironic is that the lives they taught us was the very lives they realized weren't what they wanted later in their lives when they needed us. What they built, or tried to build, they later tried to break. But people don't necessarily change so easily. For my brother those ties were his downfall, he continually fought the role he played against the thought of breaking the ties, and paid a terrible price throughout his life. For me, the bond was never there to break, and wasn't there to build later.
It was many years later in a discussion with Mom I began to see who Dad was. He never spoke of his life, something we all tried to make him do after he retired, to record or write about his youth in Kansas during the depression (he was born in Valley Falls, Kansas in 1919 and lived there until 1940 when he joined the Army). He never did, but it seems parts of our lives parallelled each other's at critical times.
After my first year of college, and the University of Denver sent me a letter I wasn't invited back to the College of Engineering in the next quarter, a career he decided for me, Dad sat down with me, read the letter of dismissal, and said, "Son, I want you to have a life. Just don't have it here." Two months later I joined the Air Force and never looked back. We only spoke about once a year after that except for a 3 day visit a year before he passed away, described in a poem.
Well, it turned out after my Dad's first year of College at the University of Kansas, his first time away from home, his Dad was unimpressed with his achievements and told him the same thing. He left to join the Army and never looked back. We rarely went to Valley Falls, only after his Dad passed away to make sure Grandmother was ok. Sadly, he never spoke of Dad who emmigrated from England to build and own a general dry goods store in Valley Falls before World War I.
It's always been sad he didn't open up to talk about his life. He was private to the end. He never realized it won't be remembered if you don't say anything. As someone said, you'll be silent in death.
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