Everything My Father Never Told Me

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We were always close and shared a symbiotic bond he never had with my brothers. We laughed at ridiculous things in life, usually my mother, and unfortunately shared the genetic bond of depression. He was the one person who understood and accepted my dark.

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He was a quiet man, but from him I learned some invaluable life lessons. Always be friends with the people who have no friends.


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Make sure you have a place where you feel safe. It could be your home or the Nordstrom shoe department. So many things will frighten you. Storms, I know you are ridiculously afraid of moths, and strangers, but your biggest fear is having people see you as you see you. You are so much more mighty than you know. Change will be your only constant. This is a good thing.

4 things dad never told me:

You can be very cruel with your words and actions. This is something to kill with kindness. Tell your real friends how you feel. Tell them at 2: But always tell them. Loneliness does not have anything to do with the number of people around you. And how many of those people understand you. Sometimes the most surprising actions will break your heart. You can love someone and hate someone. At the same time. You are going to be very good at many things. Making people laugh, being a good friend, and whatever career path you choose. People come and go.

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Some are cigarette breaks, others are forest fires. Everything is going to be alright. You are going to be alright. She settled into grownup life as a project manager, collecting an MBA and a few husbands along the way. She is a shown artist and her favorite pastime is upcycling old furniture and decor she finds from thrift stores.

She lives with the cat who came to visit but stayed. Let my readers, if any, be warned. There is nothing of that in these pages. My father and I were fifty-three years apart and understanding was not easy to come by.

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The episodes, per force, are told from my point of view. But if we did not often understand each other then, in the end I was able to see that love had existed, existed on both sides, and perhaps that disclosure is justification for this small book. The warning is hardly necessary.

Edmonds' graceful prose and vivid story-telling are more than enough justification for this or any book. The author has previously sketched a fictionalized portrait of his father in a book called The South African Quirt , but this new book is better balanced and more satisfying. Edmonds constructs his memoir from interlocked vignettes, each illuminating a fresh aspect of his father's character.


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In another, young "Watty" attempts to apply one of his father's dinner-table lectures on public drunkenness to a neighborhood chipmunk, which has grown stuporous on fermented cherries. Easily the funniest episode finds the year-old Watty laboring for months in the solitary fastness of his room, learning to forge his father's signature. When at New Year's dinner I refused to eat creamed celery, which I despised, and was sent up to my room 'to think things over,' I lost not a moment in assembling my paraphernalia and going to work on the forgery.

Here, the setting alternates between the family's home in New York City, where the elder Edmonds had a law practice, and a farmhouse to the north, scene of the author's happiest memories. Edmonds makes good use of both settings: Even a motorized hearse appeared and I started to remove my cap and stand at attention as Father had taught my brother and me to do, rapping our heads sharply with his cane if we were slow to bare them. But to my surprise he paid no attention to the motor hearse and the thought flitted through my head that it was the netted horses and plumed vehicle that he respected more than the sad body on its final drive.

As the years went by, also, it became obvious to us all that Father's affinity for the internal combustion engine was almost nonexistent. Walter Edmonds, who was born in , recognizes that the everyday particulars of his childhood will be unfamiliar to many readers. In presenting these seemingly humdrum details for a modern audience, he reveals much about his father's iron rule: Her quick ears had caught the rumble of the dumbwaiter in its swift ascent from the basement kitchen.

That meant Father's poached egg was on its way. To most people, serving a poached egg for a man's breakfast would seem a simple procedure. In the Edmonds household it was not. Father's specifications for his egg were relentlessly precise. The egg on its toast must have been cooked just long enough to be runny at the first touch of the fork; the yoke perfectly round and yellow; the white white, no trace of transparency was countenanced; the toast a moderate brown and perfectly flat, with the crust left on but, because of sensitive teeth, the crust must be softened by a trickle of hot water from the kettle; a trickle mind you; too much water would reduce the toast to 'quag.

Her quick steps pattered through the pantry, into the dining room, down the length of the table, and, pink-cheeked and breathless, she put the egg in front of Father. A quiet sigh escaped my mother's lips, and the waitress, even pinker-cheeked than before, vanished without a sound.

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