I just walked outside barefoot and as I stepped outside I heard my dad’s voice say “put shoes on”. I didn’t hear his voice audibly but I heard it in my mind. My dad had a stroke 5 1/2 years ago and hasn’t spoken since but many things he used to say are imprinted on my mind. And on occasion some of those “tidbits” of wisdom have even been spoken by me.

  • “put your seat belt on” – I have always worn a seatbelt. I have a vivid memory of my dad installing seatbelts in our station wagon. I was well into my teens before I knew everyone hadn’t grown up wearing seatbelts.
  • “don’t believe everything you read in the paper, hear on the radio or see on the television news” – I was raised to investigate what the media says – a good idea.
  • I don’t know if he actually ever said it but I heard loud and clear “Think”
  • “you need to know the history” – This used to make me and then my kids crazy. If you asked my dad about whatever, he would start with the Greeks or Romans or even earlier and work his way forward. My youngest daughter would say “Poppy, I want the reader’s digest version.”
  • “don’t stoop to their level”
  • “write down who you spoke to, what they said and note the date and time.” This has proven to be invaluable advise.
  • “so what do you want to do?” My dad said that to me in Sept of 1975 when I lost my job teaching dance. And then he set with me at the dining room table and came up with a plan. That plan was the New School of Dance Arts.
  • “don’t drive behind big trucks – you can get sucked under” My sister, sister in law and I drove cross country in a Pinto in August of 1981.  My dad made us put a crowbar under the seat to “pry ourselves” out of the car. My sister was moving to California and we drove her car and my sister in law and I flew back – one week trip. oh my!!!
  • “a government’s first responsibility is to protect it’s citizens”
  • “Kids need to learn geography” – thus why I own a globe and an atlas.
  • “good show” – my dad came to every one of my recitals.
  • “Promise me you won’t make any major changes in your life for one year”  He said that to me after Sept 11, 2001.

I remember getting in big trouble with my dad only once and that was enough. I was 12 years old and being a “smart ass” to my pregnant mom – not a good idea. I remember seeing my dad cry only once. That was Easter 2002 and I told him the FDNY had found Bruce’s body. I miss my daddy. I see him when I visit him at the nursing home but that’s not really him because what you did with my dad was talk. We would sit at the dining room table and talk. So now I carry on a monologue about what I am doing, what the girls are doing, etc… And before I leave I kiss him on the forehead and say “remember Daddy I love you and God loves you.”