|Lela & Gordon Clark, and Neil & Geraldine Burrell|
What I really want to write about is my father, Gordon Douglas Clark. Most readers of this blog may not have met him. He made his transition twenty years ago, but continues to influence my life today. It has been said that our parents' job is to develop both roots and wings in their children. Roots so they will remember what is important and wings so they can look after themselves.
Dad was the youngest child in a family of three boys; the oldest became a geo-physicist, the second a dentist and my dad was a teacher. These men loved ideas and when they were together there would be much laughter, not joke telling as much as story-telling about themselves and their friends. They all loved language and were always quipping and playing with concepts.
Dad also loved to sing. One of the highlights of my childhood was family car trips because the whole family would sing for hours. Later when I learned to play piano, I learned those old standards that the family loved to sing. Then finally, when dad's Alzheimers' had robbed him of his quick wit and logical thinking, I made a cassette tape for him that contained all the old standards that he loved to sing -- "Let me Call You Sweetheart," "Side by Side" and dozens of others. Although I lived nine hours away, I could participate in our family sing-alongs. My sister would take it to the care facility and they would enjoy an evening of singing.
He was a very good dancer, but I could never follow him!
|Gordon & Lela dancing|
I have many favorite memories of my dad but the one that is heaviest on my heart today, is getting a letter from him offering me support when I was nursing a broken heart; it seemed to me that I was often feeling abandoned and rejected by the ones I loved. Dad wrote the sweetest note, quoting Tennyson, "Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all." I was in my thirties then and I had not expected that kind of kindness and love. I guess I had expected outer voices to match my inner tormenter, who was yelling at me for choosing such a scoundrel in the first place.
There are so many stories I could share about my dad. He passed twenty years ago this August. I miss him still. So much of who I am came from my dad.
What are your special memories about your father?
|My family 1979|
|My family 1991|
|My family 1961|