My father is looking right at me. His gentle brown eyes, thoughtful. His countenance surprisingly focused, for a boy of 16.
This moment unfolded for me when I took the package from my mailbox at 12 noon. Inside was my father’s high school yearbook. Thomas Jefferson High School, class of 1930. Born February 20, 1914, my father graduated high school one year early.
I sit down on the couch and carefully open the package, purchased from an eBay seller a week earlier. I slowly turn the pages, looking closely at each and every face, I am meeting a part of my father’s world heretofore unknown to me. I see wonderful names: Michael Bisco, Walter Bubalis, Louis Charles Chap, Hannibal Gerrundo, Frank Robert Paladino, and Royal S. Cleaves. And then, I turn to page 45, and there, on top, is my father’s beautiful face looking right at me: Sanford C. Kahrmann.
I learn he was a small boy when I read the smiling poetic nugget for my father:
“He’s always very quiet;
Then too, he’s awful small
If it wasn’t for our eyes,
I fear we’d not know he was here at all.”
Instantly I am in tears, my body clenched in this moment when he and I are together in a way like never before. My father, the greatest gift life has ever given me. Gone to soon for him, age 55, and for me, age 15. But I know were it not for him, I would not alive today. That is a fact.
My eyes are swollen now. I hold him close, remembering the words my broken 15 year old heart wrote just days after his death on August 16, 1969.
In all times
And in all lives
There are moments filled
With the sincerest intimacy
You and I have shared such moments
And I thank you
And love you
For those times
And today, Daddy, we shared another one. I am always, now, forever and beyond, your son loving you.