I've written about my dad here once before, on this day (his birthday) last year. He would have been 93 years old today.
Today also marks the first birthday of this blog. Is that a coincidence? Not really. Dad was a big influence in my life. We shared similar temperaments and interests, like Tom Clancy and Alistair MacLean novels, minor league baseball and Dinty Moore's beef stew. (Although I don't usually admit to the beef stew thing...and it's been years since I've opened a can of the stuff-I swear!)
When I was a kid, my parents used to take my little sister and I out on Long Island to watch polo on the weekends, and afterwards we'd go to a place called Patrick's Pub for brunch. I'm pretty sure it was an excuse for Dad to eat exotic foods like blood sausage and eggs for breakfast. I don't recall what my mom ate, but I do remember my parents drinking Bloody Marys, and that Patrick made one hell of a Shirley Temple.
Dad was a writer with a degree in journalism from NYU, where he met my mom (also a journalism student). Most of his career was spent as an editor for various newspapers, some famous, and some not. He was highly regarded by his compatriots for his editing skills and mastery of the English language.
Early on, after a stint in the Army on The Stars and Stripes, he worked at a daily newspaper called "PM" with such luminaries as Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Suess), photographers Margaret Bourke White and Arthur Fellig ("Weegee"), as well as many other well-known writers of the day.
By the time I was born (kid number 4 of 5) he had settled in as an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer for a few years, and confined his extracurricular writing to penning witty letters to family and friends all over the world.
So today, in honor of Dad's birthday, I'll raise a toast (not a Bloody Mary, but his other drink of choice: a Screwdriver) and re-read his old letters, a yearly tradition.
Happy Birthday, Dad!