f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 27 California. He did some, but quite limited, travel. How would he react to my having visited every country in North and Central America, as well four countries in Asia, three in South America, two in Africa, and fifteen or twenty in Europe, plus Israel which is in the Middle East? After immigrating he lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. How would he relate to my having visited forty-nine of the fifty states, missing only ND? I also had mailing addresses in eight states: PA, NJ, CA, GA, WA, MI, IN, and VA. He might have understood and related to my high school and university teaching, writing, and administrative work. He knew about the twenty or so part time jobs of my youth, but how would he relate to my falling into the greatest “gig” in history; lecturing about American Musical Theater on cruise ships (eight times), as well as teaching it as a full semester course at Purdue, at the DVC Emeritus Program and at Elder hostels? My favorite all time job—actor—required great energy, devotion, and dedication. Pop always regarded acting as a complete waste of time and energy and insisted that I should have a profession or career “to fall back on.” He was 100% right on that one, as I later learned. Still, I would like to have shared some of my better, and even the not so good, performances with him. Pop and I did share one great passion: Baseball. He had played what was then called semi-pro ball. When I was a teenager I heard from people who had seen him play that he was an excellent hitter. Hitting was the weakest part of my game, but he would never teach or help me improve. Instead, he would ridicule. That hurts to this day, but it was what it was. My proudest and happiest moments, however, concern my wife, two children, and five grandchildren whom he, of course, never met. I will not bore you with stories about the grandkids. (It would take at least twenty-three pages.) I choose to think that they would have given him a great deal of pleasure; especially the boys who played soccer, baseball, and basketball. The song “My Way” states: “I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried, I’ve had my fill, my share of losing.” It would have been nice to share both the winning and the losing with him as adult to adult. That, however, was not to be. Instead I count the number of years that I have outlived him, “outlived” in longevity, but also in the sense of the delight a rewarding life can bring. So instead I count years, months, and days in a meaningless, one contestant, longsince decided competition. Suffice it to say that on February 2, 2016, I will be eighty-five years old. Let’s leave it there. So now you know almost everything about the relationship between my father and me, or at least what parts I am willing to put on paper. Will I be around to beat to beat by 25 my father’s life span of 60-10-1 years next December 4? Twenty-six in 2017? Obviously, none of us, fortunately, knows. I hope I shall, of course. I also hope that anyone who has the gumption to read all of this will enjoy life as much I have and still do. I wish Dad were here to read and discuss it with me.
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