Saturday, June 26, 2010

Simple Gifts

All this week we've been writing about fathers. I’m sure my father, Jacob Z. Jacobson, would have listed his profession as writer even though he spent a lot of years as a high school English teacher who because of his age could never be certified and so was paid as a substitute teacher which amounted to half a regular teacher’s salary. He wrote a number of non fiction books and even tried to start a publishing company. I checked on Amazon and found that three of his books were available and even though they’re used, the selling price is more than the price they were new. My father died in 1970. I think it would make him happy to know he’s on the Internet. He wrote quite a bit about Chicago artists and some of his papers are somewhere in the Smithsonian.

I carry around all kinds of stories about my father, any one of which probably tells what kind of a person he was. He was 48 when I was born and we lived in a building that had been built as a hotel for the 1893 World’s Fair. Rundown was a nice way to describe it. Money or lack of it, was a constant issue in our lives. I never asked for anything because I knew that the answer would be no. However one summer evening my father was going to go out for a walk. I’m not sure how he phrased it, but somehow he asked if any of us needed anything. I blurted out I’d like an ice cream cone never expecting to get it. A little while later, my father rang the downstairs doorbell and called me down where the mailboxes were. He was holding a double decker ice cream cone and I thought I was seeing things. I can still taste the vanilla flavor and feel the crunch of the little pieces of ice imbedded in it. It was the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had.


Linda O. Johnston said...

I love ice cream at all times, Betty, but that ice cream cone had to be the most special ever!

Camille Minichino said...

Wonderful, wonderful memory, Betty! And how great that he has an Internet presence!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I have measured all the ice cream I've had since against that cone and even the most premium of ice creams hasn't tasted even close to as good.

Camille, it is one of my favorite memories of my father. I always thought he had this way of holding my hand just when I most needed it.

He would have loved the Internet and the access to all the information. My brother even found a photograph of the ship my father came to the U.S. on. Calling it a ship is a compliment.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, you were so lucky. What a wonderful man he must have been.

Betty Hechtman said...

Yes, Joanna, I was lucky and the best part is that I appreciated my father when he was alive.