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.