“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

This morning felt almost balmy at 7˚. The wind was gone, and the sun was breaking through the clouds and bringing blue sky with it. Gracie took her time, another weather indicator, and I didn’t mind. The long term weather says a heat wave is coming starting tomorrow when it will be 39˚. By Friday, it will be 50˚. It will also be rainy but I don’t care. 50˚ trumps rain.

This is a morning of black and white science fiction. I first watched The Behemoth from 1959. The special effects gave me a chuckle especially when the Behemoth upended the ferry. Toy cars fell into the Thames. Once the Behemoth was on land, the fun began. The same car got flattened twice. In the crowd scenes, I kept an eye on an old lady wearing a white hat. I saw the same scene twice with the old lady front and center, and she appeared later in a couple of other scenes. That old lady could run. Screams took the place of action. You had to imagine what was happening. The ending was no ending. It was a radio report of thousands of dead fish on the shore of some US state: I forget which. That meant another behemoth.

Them is on now. It is one of my favorites. “No place for you or any other woman,”  was an acceptable comment in 1954. It was said to the woman scientist who insisted on going  into the giant ant hole as she had the necessary knowledge to identify the ants. She also has a wardrobe of several hats, necessities in 1954. The film has some great scenes of real ants. What I love in these movies are the street scenes, the cars and the women’s clothes. Leonard Nimoy has a bit part with a couple of lines. Fess Parker also has a small part but with far more lines. I know what’s going to happen, but I’m glad to watch anyway.

Sunday mornings have always been my favorites ever since I was young. I wasn’t big on going to church, but some Sundays I didn’t mind so much as I’d go with my dad, the usher. I had to wear a dress or a skirt because that’s what girls and women wore in the 50’s to church. My father wore a suit with a white shirt and and a tie knotted in a full Windsor. In the winter he added an overcoat and a fedora. He wore tie shoes which he polished every Saturday night. It was one of his rituals to pull out the can of polish, the rag and the brush. I remember he always spit into the can. It never seemed disgusting to me. The bristles of the old wooden brush were black from all the polish. My father always brushed the tips of his shoes first.

It’s funny what memories stick with us. I can see that shoe brush and the can of polish.  I remember my father holding a shoe with one hand inside it while he held the brush with his other hand. The brush went back and forth and back and forth vigorously. My father would stop, check the shine then shift the shoe and start to shine another part, back and forth again. When I visited, he always asked me if my shoes needed to be polished. They always did. I made sure of it. It was a connection to my father I still hold dear.

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8 Comments on ““It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.””

  1. flyboybob Says:

    Memories are a funny thing. We tend to remember the good things because they were important at the time. The memory experts say that we change our memories every time we bring up the memory. That may be true but mine seem as accurate as the day they happened. Many of my memories of my dad was of him leaving town on a sales trip most Monday mornings and returning on Friday night. He also had a weekend routine which included yard work on Saturday mornings, doing his sales paperwork from the past week and bowling on Sunday mornings.

    Your father spit into the shoe polish can because in the military soldiers are trained to spit polish their shoes. When I was in college it was required to take PE. I’m not a very athletic person so I chose to substitute Air Force ROTC. One of the first things that they taught us was to spit polish our issued plain toed black oxfords. At least once a week we had to take cotton balls and dip them in water. Then rub the balls into the polish and apply the polish in small circular motions. After applying several layers of polish in this manner the shine on the shoe would be deep enough to use as a shaving mirror. Spiting into the polish can became the civilian shortcut method after leaving the service. I hated spit polishing so much that I became an anti-war hippie and haven’t polished my shoes since 1966. 🙂

    I’m back home from Phoenix where the temperature is only about ten degrees cooler. I can see why so many retirees live in the Phoenix area. Eighty degree days in January is very nice. Right now we are a cool 55 degrees with a chance of rain later this afternoon.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      My dad also had a routine. His Saturdays were much like your dad’s. It was dry cleaners, the Chinamen’s, hair cut if necessary and a visit to the pharmacy with his friend. It was chore day too including the lawn in the summer and whatever needed doing in the winter.

      He was a sailor in WWII where I figure he did learn to shine his shoes. The spitting was necessary as the polish would get hard and sometimes break into pieces. My dad was a great shoe shiner.

      It stil feels warm to me even though it’s only 14˚. I think it is the sun shining and no wind which makes outside feel warmer. Last night was 0˚.

      I complain about the cold but I’m not out in it too often. The house is warm and cozy. I really don’t want to go to the dump today. I’m toying with staying home.

      In no world of mine is 55˚cool.

      • flyboybob Says:

        Yes, Sailors also are required to spit shine their shoes. I think it’s part of the job of reducing your individuality during basic training and getting the men to follow orders. When I was in the ROTC the polish never got hard. We had drill two days a week and the officers would inspect our shoes before each drill. If you are using enough water to get a real spit shine the polish was always soft. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I remember the hard polish in chunks. Maybe it was the brown which chunked for being underused as his shoes were mostly black.

  2. Hedley Says:

    Eric and his Chiefs are gone, which really took some effort as they lead by 18 points. An Epiphany in more ways than one I would guess.

    It is supposed to be above 20f today but it’s still brutally cold. The terrier and I have been out a couple of times and only one of us have enjoyed it

    I have moved right along to Bob13 disc 4 . I am taking my time with the box set and reading the notes quite carefully, Like this entire series the box has been put together with care and thought.

    Don’t really have a team to cheer for any more in the playoffs, although I am interested in the Brady is bigger than Belichick drama, but that is for next week

    Mrs MDH and I are preparing for New Year and Springsteen on Broadway, can we contrive to meet Bruce ? We are working on it. I first saw Bruce in 75,so it’s only been 43 years clunking around

    • Hedley Says:

      New Year = New York, thank you autocorrect

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Wow, that’s awful but I’ve seen the same with the Pats who were on the winning end after an amazing comeback. I think it is a bit embarrassing.

      It is cold now here but the warm up is coming. My friends had pipes freeze even though the pipes are padded. It took hours to de-ice.

      I’m glad you’re still enjoying the Dylan.

      Of course, the papers are filled with denials about the Kraft-Brady Belichick break. We’ll see what happens. Kraft loves Brady.

      With your luck, you’ll be on the same elevator.


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