Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Eddie

Today would have been my dad's 85th birthday, so I'm thinking of him.

I thought of him yesterday too at the Hall of Fame, which he would have loved. Dad, Eddie to his friends, was born in New York in 1923, the same year as Yankee Stadium, and he grew up rooting for the Yanks of Ruth and Gehrig and later, his favorite, Joe DiMaggio. He turned me on to baseball as a kid, playing catch in the backyard, taking me to my first baseball game, the Mays-McCovey-Marichal Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. When the A's moved from Kansas City in 1968 to Oakland, much closer to our East Bay home, he and I went to many games there, watching Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Joe Rudi -- the beginning of the great A's teams that went on to win three consecutive World Series in the 1970s after we moved to Oregon.

We had a pretty typical father-son relationship, I think, meaning much love and respect buried under some layers of annoyance or misunderstanding. A lot of my least favorite qualities -- I can be quick-tempered, argumentative, shrill -- I think I got from him. Also, lately, my gut. But I also see him in my own ease in varied social situations, my ability to make a friend, an affinity for numbers, my deep love of family.

My Aunt Chickie back in New Jersey, who wasn't related to Dad by blood, knows of our sometimes strained relationship. She found several opportunities on this visit, as she always does, to say nice things about him, and she brought out some cool old family photos that I hadn't seen, including of Mom and Dad with Jersey clan. That was nice.

As I was reminded yesterday, this will be the last year at Yankee Stadium, meaning it lasted four seasons longer than Dad did. But also that they both had good, long, full lives.

Happy 85th, Eddie. We miss you.

10 comments:

Rita said...

My heart runnith over.

I'm missing him too, Mark. Feel like I should be baking a strawberry-whipped cream cake.

Nice post.

Ronelle said...

Nice post Mark -

I am thinking of Uncle Eddie AND Aunt Rita today.

Love lives on!

mich said...

What a nice tribute, Mark. I'm playing Sinatra as I write this, and thinking of good times with Dad.

Janice said...

You know, I never liked mothers day or fathers day when my parents were alive. My mom had some weird ideas about mothers day and my dad just didn't seem to like the attention. But now that they're gone, ads for mothers day and fathers day really disturb me. It's like they don't take into consideration that lots of us don't have mothers or fathers anymore.

Elaine said...

Mark,

I'll never be able to hear a song from Bread without thinking of that party you had at your house, I think our junior year of high school, and meeting your charming father.

Elaine

PC said...

More idyllic-relationship, far from the typical- ones surrounding me and my friends, is what I read. Lucky man you, Mark. Even luckier to have such positive memories. Thanks for offering me my own father-pause when I reach out to him this Sunday and filter-in all that was good.

LaSue said...

Ahhhh, what a sweet post. You brought a tear to my eye. A wonderful pre-father's day gift. It is great to see the duality of love & pain in parental relationships and they always seem easier once they are gone.

Mark said...

Thanks to all for your nice comments.

Philip, I'm sure you're right about my father-son relationship being more ideal than I always gave it credit for being.

Elaine: Nice that you found Dad charming, but then he was always at his most charming around pretty girls. I don't remember him being all that charming to Gohman.

And thank you for outing me as the owner of a Bread album in high school. Jeez. Like I don't have enough cred problems on this stupid blog. Honestly I don't even remember having a party at my house. But if I did it seems like I'd have been playing something like Teddy Pendergrass or the Ohio Players, no?

mich said...

I remember hearing that party from upstairs. It was bread and Leon Russell.

Elaine said...

Mark,

No, not Teddy Pendergrass, it was Bread (thanks for backing me up on that Mich). Anyway it was kind of romantic at the time though apparently you don't remember. . . anyway, who knows what you'd be listening to now if not for Breads influences on you then!