Remembering John Goldberg

Last Saturday, May 24th, marked the 50th anniversary of my father, John Goldberg’s, death. Bobbie, my wife, was in Connecticut with her kids and grandkids. I was left here with restlessness, discomfort and the urge to look at old photographs. I phoned my sister, Barbara Kinloch, not so much to reminisce as simply to talk to my sister. I posted this on Facebook:
The picture was made in 1945. In 1964, 50 years ago today my father, John Goldberg, died. Back in 2010 and again in 2012 I wrote about him in my blog. Today I have no words, no names for the feelings. So much we never got to share. So many nights at the bar without him to listen to me, to nod and put his hand on my shoulder. So much joy flooding my life right now without him to share in it. And yet I trust he knows, he feels and he remains with me always. Thanks Dad.

'45: Barbara, Mom, Dad, Dick

Friends were generous with their comments of support. These two, however, rocked me:

Bernie Sullivan:  Rich, I remember many times when you were so proud of your dad because of his family ethics. People like him never leave us. They become our conscience.

Patrick McMahon:  Beautiful. I understand.

 

Bernie and I go back to high school, have led very different lives and seem somehow to be connecting through Facebook. Pat and I worked in film together for years without really knowing each other, but now, again through FB, each of us has shown the other aspects of ourselves we were too young to expose earlier.

 

This morning, looking for some writing to work on, I came upon this:

          Like Father Like Son

More and more, it seems, less and less matters.

Perhaps it’s age.

Perhaps Taoism—not the religion or the philosophy, but the worldview of things never more than what they are in this moment.

Perhaps it’s the quiet yet joyful feeling that accompanies the cutting away of each attachment to the desires carried in one form or another since that time I felt it important to succeed in life.

There was a time when identifying causality was my prime goal, especially in response to life shifts I’d not chosen.

Why am I doing—or not doing—this—or that?

           was my default response before falling into life on the street. At that point,

What’s happening?

           became enough. In my post-street period—the more or less now-time–the response is

Hmm…

Now I frequently find myself astounded at my increasing relaxation, my easy acceptance of just going along with whatever’s happening and the soft, bemused delight that accompanies it.

  • A film on Taiwanese aborigines replacing their spirit house?
  • A rug in need of cleaning?
  • A group on the emotional aspects of aging?
  • A frank, well done, with mustard and onions?
  • No tequila. How about an ice tea?

In a word I once hated but now see as invaluable: Whatever.

Johnny, my dad, Johnny knew how to live

Something this son didn’t realize while the old man was still alive.

He thrived on his family and his job and watching others play at sports and politics.

He respected his heritage.

The 4 years between the death of the Hartford Chiefs (Class A, Eastern, Boston Braves farm team) and getting a TV set to watch the Yankees or the Red Sox were not so much a time of mourning as of hiatus.

     Dad knew how and when to rest.

     He knew the senselessness of argumentation.

Some folks in the half generation between his and mine didn’t think so. They thought his lack of desire for success as they counted it was a weakness, a fault, a defect of character significant enough to be mentioned to his son at Johnny’s funeral. That son, me, already sufficiently deep in his father’s mold, did not coldcock those cousins who felt it necessary to criticize the corpse in the next room.

That was all then.
Right now I sit here.

Coffee to my left, Traffic outside the window.

Rejoicing in being my father’s son.

* * *

Thank you all for reading this.

Published in: on May 27, 2014 at 11:45 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. While I have always admired your writing. I have never seen such a connect before between words and feelings. What you voiced sounds like a real catharsis. The love you demonstrate for your dad undoubtedly also came the other way. You cannot give what you cannot have received. Your dad must be very proud of you.

  2. What a wonderful paean to your father!

  3. Rich…

    You hit the nail on the head. “More and more..less and less matters.” It is wonderful to be at peace with yourself and your relationships.

    John Koval

  4. Haftorahman via alumni.brown.edu

    Thank u

    *****************************************
    Stanley Froud via alumni.brown.edu

    Yay Papa…you only get one of them.
    ******************************************************
    Marcia D. Pollock

    Hi Richard,
    Is the cute kid standing in front of your father you?
    My father died in 1965 and his yahrzeit this year was May 26th. I went to morning Minyan services at Ansche Chesed yesterday and said Kaddish.
    I too miss my father. I was his caregiver in the last years of his life and we spent many hours together sharing memories of good times and bad.
    **************************************************************
    Rita Kinzer

    Enjoyed your memories of your father. See you in September.
    ***************************************************************************
    Michael Miler

    What a beautiful piece, Goldie. Thanks for sharing!
    ——————————————–

  5. A fine and moving piece of writing. Good job!

  6. Loved this. Love you.

  7. Tobi Zausner

    Hi Richard

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. I am sure he hears you and that you make him proud.

    Be well,
    Tobi

    ***********************************************************************
    Maggie

    Hello Richard !

    Thank you for being so honest about your relationship with your dad. It is always a pleasure reading your blogs and I thank you for sharing with us your precious moments.

    Respectfully,

    Margaret

  8. From Cousin Esther:

    Dick, I’ve been reading your blogs and posts about your Dad. I have to think that the fondness and love you express is going out to the universe and at some level he is receiving it. I feel the same way about my parents and it gives me comfort to think about that. Take care. E

  9. From my sister:

    Thank you for that beautiful essay about you and Dad. I couldn’t respond immediately because I would have been all emotion and just plain incoherent. My tears have dried and I can tell you how much I loved reading your words. They took me back to a time and to a place that was clouded until your words brought wonderful pictures to my closed eyes.

    Love,

    Barbara


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