A Working Man

On May 30, my father retired.  He had worked for 47 years at ABC as a video tape editor, slicing and splicing little vignettes of living, montages of still lives that would hold the television viewer's roaming attention.

He was a patient and dedicated worker, immersed in his noble work ethic and accepting the brutal hours and painstaking instructions willingly.  When an awards show was on, he wouldn't come home until 4AM.

Yes, about those awards.  He won seven Emmys:  he was part of the team covering the Olympics, he worked on what we survivors of the Pleistocene Era called 'variety hours' – hosted by people as varied as Julie Andrews and Alice Cooper.

And he met other people.  He shared a carton of popcorn with Judy Garland; he was given a cigarette lighter by Jerry Lewis; he received a thank-you note from Joan Crawford…these and other emblems of esteem and affection have survived.  But I recall particularly a Christmas ornament from Dinah Shore.  It was pastel pink like cotton candy, a mere shade above nothingness, frosted with silver glitter.  I am sure the years have crushed it, as it tries to do to us all.

He had first worked amongst stacks of tapes,

unraveling each of roll of celluloid and cutting the tiny frames with a razor blade. 

Later, everything was input into a creature that looked like a cross between a work processor and a computer,

before graduating to mullti-screened computers. 

He loved his industry, he loved the job it spawned and he loved to learn.  And when he had finally established himself as The Top Videotape Editor As Well As The Swellest Dad Iin Television, he loved to teach the intricacies of his trade to his co-workers.

They depended on his knowledge, his calmness and his greatness.  As I do.

So, on May 30 a party was given for him; a soiree, an outpouring of gratitude so extreme, it bordered on the flamboyant.  (The woman in the middle picture, sitting to my dad's left is my mom.) 

An honorary certificate was given, autographs were gathered, speeches were made.  Everyone was there, to say good bye to someone they had come to rely on and love.

He had worked for 'Good Morning America' for more than 20 years.  So there was more.  At 8:55AM, PST, during a concert sponsored by GMA, from the stage at Bryant Park, Diane Sawyer gave a shout-out to my Dad. (It was at an Usher concert, and he applauded politely, which was nice of him.)  And there was still more.  He was interviewed, and you can find it here (hurry, I don't know how long they'll archive the video!).

So many times one imagines a person of great skill and experience to be grim and harsh; but all I see is a working man, a kind man, a man whom I'm so proud of and whom I love so much.

So Happy Father's Day, Dad:  your days will now be full of golfing, cooking, growing tomatoes, grapes and nectarines.  These days will be made up of memories to reflect on as well as those waiting to be made.

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28 responses to “A Working Man

  1. Wow. I liked the piece that ABC did on your dad. Impressive guy!

  2. such a wonderful man your father sounds like and an appropriate tribute to someone with such skill and talent.

  3. Great post. Great ABC feature. Great legacy. Obviously, a great man.

  4. That's wonderful. I hope your dad just loves being retired and doesn't find it too dull after all those years of such activity. 😉

  5. what a great post and tribute to your dad.

  6. Wow, retired at 81! What a career. Nice tribute, by yourself, dear Aub, and ABC.

  7. What a sweet tribute.

  8. This is a fantastic post. The love just reached out and tugged my heart.

  9. What a great tribute from a daughter to her father – he sounds like a great dad and great guy in general! May he enjoy himself in his retirement!

  10. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad! I really enjoyed this read, he is a very interesting man!

  11. I would love your father very much, too. Congratulations to him on his retirement and to you for all the stories that will be shared.

  12. Enjoy your retirement, Aubrey's Dad! You deserve it!

  13. your dad is such a gentle soul, Aubs. he's about the farthest from "grim and harsh". 'tis going to be a lovely(er) garden now that he has more time to spend in it.

  14. this is a great post, for a great dad

  15. Congrats on your father's retirement! I hope he will enjoy his every day and still have a lot of fun. Thanks for all of the work he did. Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  16. I have been graced with this lovely man's presence and am glad of it. You know, like the video said, he probably has enough wonderful stories to fill a book. I happen to know this amazing writer named Melinda who could do a smashing job of it…
    I can't see your dad slowing down. Taking a lot of photos maybe, that I can see :). Please tell your dad Happy Father's Day from me.

  17. Wow, your dad is cool.

  18. Yay! What a wonderful career — how thrilling and satisfying it must be to be part of such a proud, craftsmanlike tradition. I think your father's mentorship of younger editors is my favorite part of this story. All that experience and know-how should be passed on… The world needs more collaborative, storytelling craftsmen like your dad!

  19. Wishing your dad a much-deserved Happy Retirement!

  20. Your Dad is cute. He looks remarkably young for eighty-one. Some people get depressed when they retire. He could probably used a project to keep him busy or write a book about his remarkable life. Thanks for sharing this Aubrey. I loved your piece on your mother also.


  21. A beautiful tribute. How wonderful that your father enjoyed and excelled at his work. I hope he'll enjoy retirement every bit as much.

  22. How wonderful! Here's wishing your Dad a Great retirement full of fun and tomatoes!

  23. Wow. To think that I've been seeing his work my whole life and never knew that someday I would know his lovely daughter.I hope his retirement is as fun as his career.

  24. [this is splendid] Your father refined stars, so they shined
    even brighter. No wonder they adored him, for using a razor blade, …not
    a vorpal blade.
    And, no wonder, his daughter is a razor sharp wit.May his retirement be fruitful.

  25. How very lovely! Great tribute to a man who truly loved what he did and was appreciated for it. Thank you for letting us celebrate him as well!

  26. That was really cool! Thanks for sharing your dad with us 🙂

  27. Loved the video as well. The 1970's 'stache was quite rakish!

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