For those of you who wondered why the blog has been dark, my father passed away suddenly. I've been spending time out west with my mom. This is one of my favorite photos of my parents, which I found on an old ektrachrome slide. They were married in December 1960 and this picture, taken sometime that decade, predates my existence altogether! I think it's maybe even before they had any kids (I'm the youngest of four) but perhaps my sister was around.
My dad and I were never "close" per se though he was surprisingly supportive of most of my artistic endeavors paying for art classes and congratulating me on writing successes. We disagreed on virtually everything but particularly politics and movies.
He was not, in fact, a fan of the cinema and often grumbled about my nonstop chatter about the artform. Once when I was a teenager he was so frustrated that he banned movie talk at the table:
No talking about movies during dinner!"
I credit this inexplicable then-hurtful ruling with creating the monster you know now. (Teenage rebellion's silver lining!) Despite my Dad's resistance to the movies, I loved to yank information about his movie feelings when I could.
The first movie he remembered seeing was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (recently revisited right here) in *gasp* 1938 in the movie theater when he was all of 7 years old. My parents took us kids to movies in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up but they were usually of the Disney or science fiction variety. (My parents liked Star Trek a lot, a fandom gene that was not passed on to me.) Dad didn't mind being dragged to Oscar-Bait movies, especially historical epics (He liked Amadeus if I recall correctly), but the Oscar movies were always my idea. He hated Woody Allen, Jane Fonda and Marilyn Monroe (three of my favorites as a baby film buff... naturally) and pretended to not know who any movie stars were when I would talk about them. "Who's Meryl Streep?" "Who's Brad Pitt?" He had a bizarre fondness for The Gods Must Be Crazy and a more common fondness for John Wayne. The only thing he might have passed down to me movie-wise is the dread of arriving late to the screening.
The only movie I ever heard my father wishing into existence was Wendy & Richard Pini's Elfquest though it never came to pass. He loved the graphic novels (which I brought home one day on a whim) and my siblings and myself delighted in the strangely obsessive way he latched on to them...'He only loves guns that much!' I bought him replacement copies one Christmas when I noticed the binding falling apart.
The last movie I remember seeing with my Dad was Titanic (1997) since I would force movie outings on the family when I visited for Christmas. He complained all the way to the theater but much to his surprise he loved it. He had nothing to say about Leo & Kate's romance which the rest of the planet was obsessing over but he went on and on and on about the historical accuracy of the details of the ship and the way it looked, filled, cracked, tilted, and sank. To this day I still feel gratitude to James Cameron for delivering such a mammoth Movie-Movie and cross generational sensation. It made me feel, however briefly one Christmas, much closer to my Dad.
Goodbye Dad (1930-2012)