I'm probably a writer because of my dad

When I was little I enjoyed writing letters. I know, what a shocker, I'm a blog writer that likes to write, go figure. I would write letters to my family members, most specifically to my dad. My dad had a little office where he would go and listen to music and relax at night. He would put on these massive headphones that were state of the art in the 80s (kids today would be very jealous of them) and do his marking or write his own notes to people. He would just retreat, there were eight of us, I understand that office now.

I would secretly write him notes, and letters, and just random things to put up on his wall. I would open the door quietly, and slip the note on his desk and steal away. His walls are covered with his accomplishments, his dreams, encouragements, inspirational quotes, and pictures of the family. And every night I would try to add to the wall. I wanted to make sure he knew that I thought he was the cats pyjamas. Or I just enjoyed the proud feelings that came every time one of my things made it on to the wall (see I am a writer, I lived to publish even then).

I think he eventually caught on to my love language because one night I heard a light tap on the door, and in the morning I woke up and there was a small picture of two koala bears with a little note stuck to the door. It stayed on my door for years and I read it almost every night on my way to bed.

My dad was a math teacher for his whole career. After his retirement I discovered he was a trained English teacher. The man that got the English teaching job was a trained Math teacher and that could be why I didn't enjoy Hamlet as much as I should have. It was the 70s, you took the job they gave you because it fed the mouths that were open to you.

It was interesting to me to find out that he was an English teacher. It explained so much about his thoughtful nature and the way that his life is a mixed bag of organized chaos. At heart I was an English teacher, but I too appreciated the clean way of teaching Math, and kids seemed to get it where with writing, kids din't really get that it was a process. And when something is so close to your heart, it is often easier to distance yourself from teaching it in order to protect that love. I think that's why he didn't fight for the English job, well that and the marking, sheesh.

He and I are so much the same, I think I'm a more outspoken version of him. He was an MC for a retirement party and he wrote out the entire speech, line by line, and it was a hit. That is the same process that I use any time that I have to speak, or preach. I write the whole thing out line by line. Mostly because if I don't, like my father, I get excited and forget what the point was and end up on a rabbit trail. We both need the written word to maintain our clarity of thought. But don't worry, if either of us are speaking at anything for you, you won't notice we're reading except that we keep looking down.

As my parents age, and I'm thinking of this now because today is my dad's birthday, I start to think that they should write their stories down. So much healing, laughter, nostalgia, and most importantly, clarity comes through writing. I used to buy my dad journals for his birthdays to hint that he should write more, but he never caught on. I'll just post this on Facebook, share it with my mom and she'll pass it on to him, maybe then he'll get the hint.

Happy birthday dad.

That's all.


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