After my dad passed away last summer, my mom consolidated his stuff and let each of us kids choose a few keepsakes. These items reside in a special box: an everyday zip cardigan, a necktie, a cloth handkerchief, a Craftsman wristwatch with a leather band, a pair of clip-on sunglasses, a child-sized rosary (perhaps the one he received for First Communion), a copy of the letter I sent him for Father’s Day containing a hodgepodge of childhood memories, and the eulogy I wrote and read at his funeral. Unbeknownst to me, he had been a journaler. In small notebooks and diaries were records of his daily activities dating back to the late 70’s. We didn’t fight over them, but we all clamored for our share. On days
I really missed him, I would read a few pages. His life, though ordinary, was full of surprises. Who knew Dad was the garbage man’s favorite customer, a closet romantic who rewired lamps and misspelled words?
One of the diaries I have is from 1986, the year I graduated from high school and went away to college. It was interesting to read about the months right before and after I left the nest. The following poem is a mix of summary and insights in the style of Dad’s journal pages:
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