Who knew my dad was a writer?
January 31, 2016
I’VE TRIED NOT TO MAKE a big thing about reaching the age my father died and that his father survived heart attack number one. Does such karmic, heredity reality give one pause? Sure. But I had a nuclear stress test done by a cardiologist a couple years ago (before losing 120+ pounds), and passed with flying colors.
That helps. Maybe I got my maternal grandpa Max’s ticker. He lived to a healthy 91.
This is all to say that I suppose I’ve been thinking about my father a lot more lately. He died in 1993, so I’ve reached the point where the wound, while still there amongst all the others, has scarred over some. Especially since losing my mom and best friend in 2004. I figure they spent their entire adulthood married in love, so now they can be together forever.
My mom wanted to be a writer. Her two sisters were published (traditionally), and she was very talented. Unfortunately she didn’t live long enough to see the digital publishing revolution where a monkey with a keyboard can sell his monkeyshine on Amazon. No, really, don’t get me started on the last nightmare I went through with someone using my name as editor of their monkeyshine. Let’s face it, there’s no quality control, but it does take the power out of the hands of snobby editors who are just pissed off that they could never write a book worthy of publishing.
Let’s not get started on that, either.
Where I’m going with the swirling verbiage (yes, Dorothy, it’s not Kansas, but there is a point in here somewhere) is that back in my hometown in Wyoming, late eighties, there was a “satellite” course in Creative Writing that came to the sticks from one of the Community Colleges. Of course, my mom wanted to go, but she was on the shy side, so she asked my dad to sign up and do it with her.
Now Dad was the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Science teacher. I can attest, as I had him twice (we moved to Wyoming as I was entering the 8th grade—in Iowa, Dad taught only 7th grade).
Both times he made me call him “Mr. Guthrie.”
Yeah. To my old friends out there (and I DO mean OLD friends), kiss my patootie.
Anyway, I was a know-it-all twenty-something and I vaguely remember my dad grumbling about how he thought he was all finished writing papers and my mom (loving every minute of the class) telling me something about dad’s final story and it actually being good.
Yeah, uh-huh, sure, Mom. Can you send money?
Today I was cleaning my office and came across my stash of “old family things,” one being an essay my great uncle Bob Robert Glass Remley), a lawyer in Webster City, Iowa for fifty-four years, wrote on his 100th birthday. Classic. Then I opened a folder and there was the typewritten final story assignment by my father.
Now I had seen this document before, but my father always poo-pooed it, seriously not wanting me to read it, so I never really did (I realized in horror as I began perusing it this morning!).
Turns out as a Science teacher my father was one helluva writer!
I wanted to share it somewhere. I HAD to share it. You have to realize this is the man who loved my mother, his kids (which included his students), fishing, and hunting. And old westerns. Only, and in that order. His reading, as far as I ever witnessed, was limited to Field & Stream and Guns & Ammo.
Yet here, today, his story captured not only my attention, but my heart. To show what a fine writer he was, I have scanned the first page of “Half Moon,” by Jeff Guthrie. It’s just as he typed it out so many years ago. (Is it weird for me to be so damned PROUD?)