Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Don't know why. We just did.

A few posts back I mentioned my affinity for keeping junk. I found a particularly oddball/embarrassing/incomprehensible item that my mother had kept. She had to have kept it originally because I was too young to be in the least bit sentimental at oh, say, age 11?

Then I discovered it in a box of "stuff" she had kept for posterity, and I am trying to figure out what it signifies. Here is a photo.
Do not trouble yourself overly much in trying to imagine why it has been in my treasured clutter collection for the past 18 years. I have to keep it.

It falls into the category of:

I HAVE KEPT IT SO LONG, I HAVE TO KEEP ON KEEPING IT NOW.

I actually remember the shopping excursion. I was the sort of child to be totally thrilled. I even pranced into the living room to show my father the new item I had bought. 99 out of 100 little girls would have been bewildered. Or embarrassed. Not me. I thought it was great news! Look at this!

My father, it must be noted, was not a goofy, fun-loving, jovial kind of a man. He was an austere nineteenth century kind of a man. He went to work. He read the paper. He didn't discipline us. He talked to my brother about college football. He didn't know what to do about his impulsive, effusively excitable daughter. He was a modest man. After he had gone to bed if he got a phone call from his boss he put on his slacks to venture into the den to answer the single telephone we had. He wasn't cuddly. He never said "I love you" to me and yet he was so very, very loving.

Deeds do speak louder than words when you have a Daddy like that.

About a year or two before I waved that new item in front of the newspaper he was reading, he saw a sketch of a little girl wearing a striped dress. It was a Foley's Dept. store ad. He called out to my mother, "Olga, do they have this dress in Penny's size?"

Yes, for no special occasion at all, my father wanted me to have that dress. I loved it!

A few years later, when I was a freshman in high school, again he saw an item in a news ad. This time it was a very old-fashioned "Gibson Girl" blouse, white, with full sleeves and lace on the bodice. Again, Mother went at his behest to buy that blouse for me.

So. That is love. I think my mother kept this little box because it reminded her of a funny family story. I clearly didn't take into account my father's reserved personality when I ran in to show it to him. I was happy and I suppose I just had a trust that those who loved me most ought to be in on my joy! To me, it was better than an "A" on a report card.

To my father, it was probably just another dismaying event in the process of raising a girl.
I miss you, Daddy.

1 comment:

Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

Where is the picture? I cannot see it.

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