This summer’s vacation from the blog included the date of the 51st anniversary of my father’s death. I’ve written much about him and he will probably be featured in the future as well. With some editing this was written for this anniversary.
My dad, Ira Marion, died in 1970 at the age of sixty, when I was just shy of twenty one years of age, living at 222 and going into my last year at his alma mater, The City College of New York. I’m sorry he missed the last fifty plus years.
The summer of his passing was a difficult one: daily hospital visits, work and school. And there was the brief period at home eating through a straw before returning to the hospital to die. His funeral was big enough to make me gasp when I saw the crowd. His obituary, in the NYTimes, was much smaller than he deserved.
My mother and sister went through the funeral as I did. My sister had been living out of town for over five years when he got sick.
When I was young he and I rooted together for the baseball and football NY giants and for Navy during the traditional army/navy game. We played baseball in riverside park and he directed me with the rest of my PS9 sixth grade class in the Mikado.
Dad was a writer, that’s how he made his living most of his life. Some of the older among you will have heard a radio show called “Crime Does Not Pay.” He wrote every episode.
Early in his career he wrote theater and later, musical theatre. In college he arced a large wattage spotlight and melted the grips of his pliers. My son Seth now owns those; a gift through the generations.
His friends included writers, conductors and the outstanding voice of the Texaco Opera, Milton Cross. All these people added to MY life.
In 1963 he programmed the music for the ABC Radio network for the weekend we mourned John Kennedy before his funeral.
And there was more, “Disaster” written for radio for the American Red Cross and “Meet the Professor” an ABC public affairs TV show.
And all along he was a dedicated “fire buff,” making me one too. Serving the firefighters on the frontlines through the Third Alarm Association.
There were also films, often written directed and produced by Dad. Among them were films for the NYC Fire Department, The US Navy and the Fresh Air Fund.
I have written a lot about my father in this blog. Like many adolescents I spent much of the time denying that I could write because, after all, many of us did not want to be our fathers.
He was a character. My friends were required to demonstrate their good manners in his presence and on the phone. Once before disappearing with drinks when I had a girl friend over, he called me into the kitchen and said “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do”.
Like you imagine, as a writer, dad smoked and drank. Both, too much. I smoked like he and my mother and pay the price in my senior years. I never took to drinking. That was probably because that damage was so visible and inflicted on the family.
My children never got to meet my dad and he wasn’t at my graduation or my wedding.
Dad would have been proud of my children and the family Jean and I created: Seth with his involvement in theatre and Judaism, Alyse, a natural leader and athlete and Rachel, a teacher of children with special needs.
Today I miss him probably more than ever because I have watched some TV shows involving male characters and their fathers struggling as adults to communicate and find that special love. My dad and I never got to do that.
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