Dear loyal followers, today is a first. In my year of blogging I have not had a guest writer until today… I’m turning over the keyboard to my mama, Heidi. Please give her a waggy welcome.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran
This quote brings me solace. It also makes me weep.
Three years ago today my father died and the grief I feel daily is, as Gibran beautifully states, my heart missing my delight. My father was completely delightful.
I had the honor (and delight) of accompanying my dad to work every day for six years of my childhood. My father taught 3rd grade and science at Nueva Day School, my elementary school. Nueva wasn’t an ordinary school — it was extraordinary, just like my dad.
Our school was housed in one of the historic Crocker mansions — an elaborate French chateau style abode built for the banker in Hillsborough, CA. We had acres of formal gardens as our playground and most of 3rd grade (taught by my dad) was conducted under the giant and ancient weeping willow tree on the lower lawn. Ahhh… so many incredible memories….
Today Nueva is full-on prep school, but in the years I was there it was a free-spirited and creative endeavor for “gifted” students (and teachers). With the exception of the school’s director, all students were on a first name basis with their instructors. At home my father was “dad”. At school I called him “Del”.
The 60’s were a progressive and groovy time for sure and my dad even grew the obligatory long sideburns and mustache. I thought he was so cool and brilliant.
And he was brilliant (“cool” remains debatable). In my dad’s short 68 years he accomplished more than most; educated thousands, had over 20 books published and gave hundreds of speeches and seminars at universities around the country.
But my dad’s greatest accomplishments would not show up on his resume; he was an excellent husband and father, and he had the ability to make everyone he met feel important and special.
As a child, my father could make me laugh like no one else! He had silly nicknames for us kids; I had 3 — Chloe Minerva, Shardell and Grace. Marty was King Martin and Matthew was Baby Ergo. I always felt special having not one, but three, private nicknames. But of course us first-borns always get more glory!
The “tap-dancing weatherman” was a staple in dad’s comedic repertoire and I laughed every time he did it (which was nearly every evening!). He would watch the news and — you guessed it! — tap dance his way through the kitchen describing the upcoming weather. I can still see my mom rolling her eyes and saying “oh Del”.
My dad would tell us stories at bedtime and the stories became more elaborate when my baby brother, Matthew, was born. He made up this wonderful ongoing tale of “the magic butterfly in the land of the dewey, dewey doo”. I was older when my dad started this series (my youngest brother is 9 years my junior), yet I was riveted along with my brothers.
Memories are flooding my mind as I sit here at my laptop and I’m stymied by how to best articulate what I am experiencing. Nearly every memory of my father (with the exception of the last days of his life) are filled with laugher & warmth. I am smiling and crying at the same time as I reminisce about my dad.
Yesterday, my mom, brother Marty and I spent the afternoon doing something we knew my dad would love; went to see a silly movie followed by a pasta dinner — two things my dad adored. Note: Matthew lives in Tucson and was unable to join us.
My father would have really enjoyed our afternoon but he should have been with us. Life isn’t fair — I get that — but to lose such a fantastic man at such a young age just doesn’t feel right.
Dear Atticus followers, please forgive me for taking his space today. I am clearly not as articulate or cleaver as my dog (or my dad), and I thank you for this indulgence.