Monday, September 06, 2010

I AM pretty neat, aren't I?

The aunt I recently reconnected with through Facebook has been sending me information about relatives on that side of the family. It means a lot to me because I miss my Grandpa (her dad) very much and I have loved reminiscing about him and learning more about him.

Tucked into all this stuff there's been the odd photo or bit of info about my own dad, a complicated and bitter man who had pretty much alienated everyone by the time he died. So it was very stirring to see pictures of him as a proud young man -- still in his teens, so a kid, really -- in his Navy blues, heading off to Korea. Or happily standing up in his older brother's wedding. Or posing in the yard of my grandpa's house, his hands on the shoulders of his baby
sister, my aunt (now a grandmother herself), when she must have been in first or second grade.

I thanked her for this little glimpse at my dad before he became the toxic, angry man I knew. It helps me round out my picture of him, to see his life in full. I wrote that looking at the photos of him then, knowing how his story would end,
fills me with compassion for him. Which is a much better feeling than the anger I know my sisters, my mom and I all frequently still battle."

In response she wrote: "You did your best for your family and you're entitled to hard feelings. You also took the best you could from a bad, sad situation and have become a smart, witty, accomplished, and wise woman. I could not be prouder of you." I keep staring at those words. They mean a lot to me.

Telethon Update

So far I have only watched about an hour since the MDA Telethon began last night, but it seems the noteworthy factor this year is hair. Jerry's is gray, Barry Manilow's is now orange, and Charo's has plastic fruit in it.

If you want to enjoy the campy showbiz spectacle that is the Jerry Lewis Telethon, you have to donate to the worthy cause. Click here for details.