Memory of my Father 5/2
Updated: May 3, 2021
An extant photo, 1950s wallet sized -
A boy with greased black hair, a light natural wave, and
Starkly blue eyes (I've heard young clerks myself
compliment the situational shyest of men - he would turn beet red and I would smile behind his back).
White tee, high waters, tennis shoes; it was
Los Angeles, Post-Depression, a World War following then
1952 - age 16.
Getting into trouble, dropping out of school
"Delinquent!" Run ins with the cops,
"Come pick up your kid, you're lucky we don't book you".
Riding silently with his father
Not saying a word was punishment
He was in trouble, forever
A bad kid.
Breezing in and out of the house as a young adult
No one (father) cared, as his saintly Mother passed
Gas was the currency in which to pay for freedom
Load it up, boys - gas, guns, rounds, bad jokes and a tackle box
Ambling - tumbling into the Army,
stationed at the Presidio, where, on the cusp of the 60s, the counter culture
made puffs of heroin float, making the populace higher than its ever been
walking the famed streets of San Francisco
wandering into bars where live music abounded
transferring to a prisoner guard for the Marines
Cadences were favored his entire life.
Around the world - from Singapore, China, Japan, Philippines, Kwajalein - the same
kid - looking constantly for a drink, a cigarette and a good meal - bouncing around the Orient.
When he passed as I sat next to him, the last of his breaths confirmed by the nurse on the other side of the bed - I felt each memory and experience melt away. Where do they go in the end - and are we able to follow?
His toes in the sand with a hot, Pacific sun overhead. The humidity like a glass. He picks up a stone, admires it and throws it back into the sea.