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The Blog Brothers

Two Black-Irish-American brothers from the mythical city of Albany, New York ponder their 20th century adventures from either side of the Pacific Ocean; Bob in Kyoto, Japan and Mick in Santa Barbara, California.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

From the Heights of Age

Sitting in the loft of my house on a mountainside in central Japan, far from my childhood in much more than years, I turned on the computer and there in your previous post was Dad just as I remember him, 40 years younger than I am now, him already gone from this world 25 years-- what a shock it was, seeing his face just as I remember it from 60 years ago, his face that was exactly that way and that young for so brief a time, that John Wayne of a face that in all its handsomeness and strength came home to us from the war and walked into our living room, where you recoiled at this sudden male in our house being so familiar, you saying "Who is that?"

You were only a year or so old when Dad left for the war in Europe; I remember probably the last time he was with us before that, one icy cold morning while we lived on Southern Boulevard, when from the ground floor back door I watched with all a child's pride as Mom came gorgeously down the back stairs in her long red silver-fox-collared coat, Dad just behind her so splendid in his uniform, must have been going to some celebration before he went off to war...

I remember later in that same house Mom now and again packing boxes of special things to send to Dad somewhere in Germany, she explaining that he couldn't get these things there and would be very glad to have them, me feeling upset that she was sending jams, chocolate and other precious things away forever... (She'd later laughingly tell me so many times as a child the story of how I had one day hidden a can of peaches that she'd never been able to find...)

Seeing Dad's youthful face now in this photo that I think I've never seen before (from deep in one of Mom's collections somewhere?), that face that for 60 years I hadn't seen as it was then, I knew it at once from somewhere deep in my heart I haven't visited for a long time. I sat and stared at him over the 60 years since, from so many worlds away, remembering, seeing your face and mine in his own young one, the way I used to sometimes in the mirror, back when I was his age...

I told him of my joys, my regrets, and thanked and forgave him.

And Mick, thanks for the surprise.


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