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AND THEN I WROTE . . . THE FATHER & SON COMPETITION NEVER ENDS On December 4, 2015 my age numbered exactly 84 years, 10 months, and 2 days. While that number, 84-10-2, does not usually call for celebration, it bears great importance to me. My father lived 60 years, 10 months, and 1 day. So on December 4, therefore, I beat the “old man’s” longevity by twenty-four years. (For those attempting to do arithmetic on their fingers, I will be eighty-five February 2, 2016.) Each year since 1991, when I tied and then passed Dad’s days, it has led me to take stock of my life and examine where I have been, what I have done, and, to some extent, what I should have done, as well as what I should not have done. Frankly, I avoid the latter searches because history is history and while we may alter the telling of the facts, those facts remain what they are—like it or not. As the years pass, I have become more and more introspective. My mother died at 73. On my upcoming birthday I will have outlived her by 11 years, 5 months, and 29 days. Mother/son relationships, however, differ greatly from those of father/son. Freud, of course, would call the nurturing mother and competitive father relationships “Oedipal.” Whatever one calls it, I do not mark the time of my mother’s death the way I do Dad’s. After two years in the Army, three in community college, and three to get my B. A. and teaching credential, I was just two months A L I V E E A S T B A Y f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 26 EDWIN COHEN into my first full time job, teaching drama and English in high school, when he passed away. I deeply regret that he did not get to share any of my achievements and successes that I experienced as a professional adult. He did not live to see me obtain an M.A. then a Ph.D. He did, however, get called to schools to ascertain why Edwin, that’s me, scored so highly on standardized test scores while doing average, at best, work in school. Nor would he ever have predicted that I would author eight books, two full length plays, and I do not know how many short works of research, opinion, and literature. Would he appreciate that I became Principal of an American school in France, as well as Chair of the Academic Senate at a major university? He had just a sixth grade education, so he probably would have had difficulty understanding my literary pride and academic success. He did not get to see the joy I found with my wife, two children, and five grandchildren. He did, however, get to be exacerbated and frustrated by my surly, introverted, angry, and unresponsive attitude as a teenager. (Can you imagine a surly, introverted, angry, and unresponsive teenager? Never!) As a four year-old child he emigrated from England to Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was in his fifties when we as a family moved to


Alive_Feb2016
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