Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Going through my dad's things yielded some surprises, some tears, some real finds. OK it was mostly trash and moderate treasure headed to the thrift store without regret. A few things were saved for me or my sister, a few other things judiciously given away. One thing I immediately moved to toss and then didn't was an Austin 2004 date book. Apparently someone gave it to him, maybe for Christmas. If so, he didn't write who gave it to him inside. Maybe he'd bought it for himself. After I retired, I taught him to go to Barnes and Noble, prowl around, read their books in the coffee shop. Sometimes he would buy things there.
Anyway he used it throughout the year to jot down his appointments and in a few cases who he visited with and what he had to eat. Pretty mundane stuff. I read through it all and moved to throw it away and then didn't. I trotted it out again and read all the mundane entries. The name of the urologist he didn't like and later fired. A bunch of appointments to see about a large goiter we'd just discovered. Appointments with a GP I later fired. A note on one day that he spent $14.35 on food. Indications that he planned to attend water aerobics, later abbreviated to H20 Arb or W-A. On January 17, 2004 he wrote 'Rain 5 inches over 3 or 4 days.' Emptied his rain gauge, I guess. This was back when he drove himself lots of places. Not everywhere. The surgeon considering his goiter was in St. David's big medical complex and he wanted me to take him there. He noted cards he mailed to his grandchildren and calls he made to his sisters. The gate code for an apartment where he picked up a woman and took her to church activities. Dates were noted for parties for a friend's 90th birthday and a couple's 50th wedding anniversary.
On June 2, he noted 'Linda and FFP to France.' On July 20 he wrote 'Fly out 12:30P to Frankford [sic].' He meant Frankfurt. Germany. He was eighty-seven years old and headed on an almost thirty day trip to Germany, England and Iceland with a friend. On August 17 he wrote: 'Return from London.' On the 18th: 'From Chicago at 1:30AM No luggage.'
The last six years weren't kind to my dad and he had some difficulties even back when keeping this datebook, but somehow these few scrawls show me just how in control of his life he was then and how much he was enjoying it in spite of everything.
I still haven't managed to throw it away.