The musty-smelling sheaf of papers has treasures mixed in with mundanity. Like life does.
I notice that he printed in block capitals. Just like me. And just like my dad and my uncles.
I wonder if he could draw like us too. I never asked.
He was in college when the war broke out. His friends said he could’ve played major-league ball. How many things could he have been if things had been different?
His writing was shaky and messy – he was nearly 80 at the time he wrote these pages. But whenever he wrote ANITA, the word is extra dark. Either he unconsciously pressed hard in writing his late wife’s name, or he deliberately went back and retraced the letters of her name.
At his funeral, my father told a story of being twelve years old and shining shoes for him at the kitchen table one afternoon while she stood at the sink. He tiptoed in past his son and grabbed her bottom.
Ever the lady, she dropped her dishtowel, spun around and slapped him.
He grabbed her, dipped her, and kissed her in the kitchen, the mother of his five children, one weekday afternoon before a long night of work, six years before cancer would take her from him.
That’s what’s going on now up in heaven, my father said. His parents, my grandparents, were having one of those Hollywood-style kisses, for how hard they had loved each other, and for how much he had missed her for thirty-five years.
What more could anyone ask of heaven?