Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Letters To My Father. Letter 7. Fathers and Daughters

Nat and Natalie Cole

Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley

Dedicated To Fathers And Daughters

The owner of the Elvis video doesn't allow embedding, so just double-click the video to get to YouTube and you can watch it there.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Letters To My Father. Letter 6.

Dear Dad,

You nurtured me, like you nurtured your gardens full of scented roses, morning glories, blackberries and vegetables, with love, care, patience and tenderness.

I blossomed under that tender care. You never tired of telling me how pretty, smart and strong I was.

You inspired me, motivated me, and instilled a love of knowledge and learning in me.

I was so very lucky to have a father like you even if it was for such a short time.

The 12 years you gave me had a huge impact on my life, and on the person that I strive to be today.

It's sad that you won't be reading these letters to you, but maybe other fathers with young daughters will read them, and see the huge impact that they can have on their daughters lives. Maybe it will inspire other daughters to write letters to their fathers and tell them how they impacted their lives.

I love you, Dad. I cherish my memories with you, and you will live on in my heart as you have these many years.

Thank you,

Your loving daughter, Kitty

Letters To My Father. Letter 5.

Dear Dad,

You were a realist and accepted reality, faced it head on, shouldering your responsibilities firmly on your shoulders.

You never hid behind lies or the vulnerable and weak. You believed in justice, not vengeance. When things were difficult you dealt with them forthrightly, honestly and courageously.

In your youth you were one of the many Freedom Fighters that returned to India to fight for her independence from the British, as did Ghandi and many others.

Paul found a document in the India Office in London which refers to you and your arrest at this time. The report states that you were protective of your Assistant and insisted that he was just your servant, knew nothing, and should be released. You shouldered the full responsibility of any activities in the office, a newspaper office which published the views of the Freedom Fighters of the day. A coward would have hidden behind his assistant and justified it by saying that the assistant was expendable and they were not. A coward would have been bloated by his own arrogance and self-importance. Not you. Because of your actions and statements, he was free to return home to his family, and you faced head on, with courage and humility, the consequences of your actions, publicizing the Freedom Fighter cause. You managed to continue publishing from jail by convincing the Warden that homing pigeons were a hobby of yours.

Paul was surprised by this ... I don't know why. I knew your heart and this didn't surprise me at all. Any other response would have surprised me.

I've kept all of the stories you told me, about that time, close to my heart, and one day I'll write a book about you, and share those stories with the world.

My values and principles, Dad, are your values and principles. Not because you forced your views on me, and demanded that I agree with you. You didn't do that. We talked, you told me stories, you listened to my opinions, and you gave me the freedom to choose. The act of a true Democrat.

There are those who say that one countries Freedom Fighter is another countries Terrorist. I don't agree with that statement.

A Terrorist is someone whose cause is not democratic, not in benefit of the majority of peoples, and not for freedom.

Islamic terrorists want Jihad and to impose their way of life on others. They engage in violence and extremism to promote this agenda.

Kahane Chai (Kach) wants Israel for Jews only and they want to force everyone else including all other Semitic peoples to leave Israel. They also engage in violence and extremism to promote their agenda.

India's freedom fighters wanted Independence from control of a foreign power. There's a huge difference between the Freedom Fighters of the past and the Terrorists of today. America fought for it's Independence from the British too.

Why should Afghani's be forced to live under Islamic rule of one type of Islam, the Taliban, when there are many types of Islam and not all Afghanis are Islamic? The fight in Afghanistan is to provide a democratic government and structure so that all interests and people are represented by that government.

If Israel is indeed a democracy, then why should it only exist for the Jews and not be inclusive of other peoples who have lived in this region for thousands of years?

In fact, Israel (Canada, the US and the European Union have now followed suit) has declared Kahane Chai (Kach) a terrorist organization because they engage in violence and extremism to force their agenda. So Israel has taken a strong stand for democracy.

India, on the other hand, simply wanted to have democratic elections where they could elect their own to run their own country like the US succeeded in doing with their American Revolution.

Dad, this is the type of discussion and analysis you and I would have engaged in with passion. Where would you stand today? I'm pretty certain that you would have objected to the Terrorism of today, condemned it as I do, and stood as you always did, on the side of democracy.

You always gave me the freedom to choose while maintaining your right to influence and convince.

Thank you, Dad,

Your loving daughter, Kitty

Letters To My Father. Letter 4.

Dear Dad,

I always knew that you were a deeply kind and compassionate man, but never really knew the depth of feeling that you had for Mom. You and Mom kept your relationship private. I caught the occasional glimpse of your feelings, the kiss when you thought you were alone, or the quiet disagreement, but never saw the real depth and breadth of your relationship until I found your poetry book, long after you died, and when I was an adult.

Your feelings for Mom were strong and passionate. You loved her deeply.

The poetry book, judging by its well-thumbed pages, was obviously a favorite of yours. It was called 1001 Poems of Mankind.

The following poems were marked off by you when you were clearly thinking about and missing Mom.

They were very short, very sweet and all came from the Section titled, The Lover's Delight.

Love Grows By What It Feeds On
from the Sanskrit of Bhartrihari, tr. by Arthur W. Ryder.

When she is far, I only want to see her;
When she is seen, I only want to kiss her;
When she is kissed, I never want to flee her;
I know that I could never bear to miss her.

My Eyes That Hurry To See
from the Sanskrit of Chauras rendered by E. Powys Mathers

Even now
My eyes that hurry to see no more are painting, painting
Faces of my lost girl. O golden rings
That tap against cheeks of small magnolia leaves,
O whitest, so soft parchment where
My poor divorced lips have written excellent
Stanzas of kisses, and will write no more.

If My Girl With Lotus Eyes
from the Sanskrit of Chauras rendered by E. Powys Mathers

Even now
If my girl with lotus eyes came to me again
Weary with the dear weight of young love,
Again I would give her to these starved twins of arms
And again from her mouth drink down the heavy wine,
As a reeling pirate bee in fluttered ease
Steals up the honey from the nenuphar.

The stamp on the book says Prince George so I'm assuming you were away on business and missing her dearly.

Dad, you loved deeply and unconditionally. You were a romantic.

Thank you for showing me that was possible in this world, Dad,

Your loving daughter, Kitty

Letters To My Father. Letter 3.

Dear Dad,

You were such a kind, compassionate man. You taught me so much about the human condition and about social responsibility. You were interested in everything and we talked a lot on our walks together, not just about me and my personal issues, but about the human condition in general.

I loved listening to you and your friends talk about the state of the world. The opinions didn't matter, and you never required that friendships be based on agreement with you. You respected people like Martin Luther King and Edward R. Murrow. People who had the courage to speak the truth no matter what the consequences won your respect.

You questioned, probed, and analyzed everything. I learned the Mosaic method from you. Yes, it's actually a formal method now used by intelligence gathering agencies. Kind of funny when you think about it. Learning encryption from you was pretty cool. I've never thought about Alice in Wonderland in quite the same way since you showed me how to use it to encrypt messages. Invisible writing was a lot of fun too. The methods are lot more sophisticated now and use computers. The concepts haven't changed that much though.

If you were a young man in todays world, you would have been a total computer geek, of that I'm sure!

Being born at the turn of the century, and growing up during a time when technology was being developed that has changed todays world so dramatically must have been exciting for you, though. Your generation built the foundation for everything that today's generation has.

My love of mysteries came from you, in those early days, when we sat and solved puzzles together. I bought a game called Mind Trap to play with my children, to stimulate their minds in the same you stimulated mine. Books and puzzles were as much an integral part of my children's lives growing up, as they were of our life together.

You taught me to appreciate and never take for granted the material things that I had.

You taught me that being a middle class princess was a shallow and superficial life. That there was an exciting world out there, ready for me to explore.

You taught me that helping others was the path to self-fulfillment no matter what career path I chose or how much money I had. That the poor deserved my respect and help. That money wasn't everything.

You not only taught me these things in conversation but showed me this approach through your actions.

When Satwant lost everything, you stepped up to help her re-establish herself and her life. You sacrificed, and asked us to do the same. When Mom objected and said we couldn't manage paying our bills and Satwants, you said to her, Look at everything you have. You have so much and she has nothing. We can sacrifice some of this to help her get back on her feet. And you did. When you died, your brother Jerry stepped in to fill your shoes. You not only took care of her financially but you went every weekend to help her set up the store. Painting, cleaning, building.

You gave all of yourself when you took on these projects.

When I decided to donate my kidney to my brother-in-law, everyone objected. The reasons given were numerous. I was told that I was being stubborn and that I didn't "listen". However, the real problem, in my opinion was, that, as usual, no-one was listening to me, or trying to understand where I was coming from. They didn't want to hear me, they just wanted to tell me what to do. As you know, that approach has never worked with me.

I know that you would have understood and supported me because you were the one who told me, and showed me through your actions, that when people were down, that was the time to step in, take responsibility, and help without condition. That's when it meant something.

You also told me, and showed me it was wrong to expect something in return. Help should be given freely and without conditions placed on it. To place conditions on it was manipulative, sleazy and wrong. This approach was taken by unethical people whose intent was to use and manipulate and not to help.

I wanted to help Jerry and Devinder because they were there for me when I needed help. They gave it to me freely and without condition. They were good people who were deserving of this. So, I did.

Thank you, Dad,

Your loving daughter, Kitty

Letters To My Father. Letter 2.

Dear Dad,

You gave me so much in the short time we had together.

I'm not talking about material things, although you provided well for us in that respect too.

I'm talking about the intangibles. I had so many questions, and you always had the time and patience to provide the answers.

I remember the first time we watched a thunderstorm together from inside the garage. We looked up at the sky watching the rain pour down in torrents. I was both afraid and thrilled by the sight. You told me about the different types of lightening, what thunder was and how to tell how far away the lightening was. You told me what steps people could take to be safe in a storm, how rubber grounds electricity. Your calm rational explanations assuaged my fears and stimulated my mind. You nurtured a life long thirst for knowledge in me. We watched many more thunderstorms together each one bringing more information, more questions, more answers.

You were a mechanical engineer, with a logical, rational mind. I appreciated that calm, collected, thoughtful approach that you had towards life. You knew the value of reason and it was an approach that I always responded well to (and still do).

I was not a kid who "did what she was told" and I think that deep down you liked that about me. You certainly never tried to turn me into that type of kid. You respected me and my right to express myself, then explained why I should do what you were asking me do.

You were a feminist before women in the 60s took up feminism.

I remember you asking me through the years what I wanted to do with my life. My first response when I was seven was to get married and have kids. You looked almost disappointed. You asked me if there was anything I wanted to do besides that, for example, did I want to have a career. I just brushed that one off by saying well I could be a Nurse or something. Your response was, Why not a Doctor? After giving it the amount of thought most seven year olds would give it (a few seconds tops) I came back with my final reply that I definitely wanted to be a Library lady. You had introduced me to the library that year and the ladies who helped me find my books were nice. As I got older, you brought books home from the library for me about women who had made a difference, contributed to, or changed the world in some way. The significant women of our times. Marie Curie, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, etc.

Well, Dad, I didn't become a Marie Curie, but I did become a Library lady for a while, and now I'm a Software Developer! Recently I've taken up writing.

Your logical Mechanical Engineers mind would have loved the 21st century with all of its tech toys. Engineering was your passion and you would have appreciated this aspect of our times. Your tech toy was your shortwave/AM radio. I remember your explanations about the radio and how it worked. I thought there were little people in there talking. When I told you that you removed the back and showed me the radio tubes and wires. Listening to people in India speaking was so exciting it fired my imagination. Just sitting in the living room, listening to the AM channels on the radio, while you read your newspaper and we chatted intermittently was soothing to my soul.

I remember our long walks after dinner. You needed to exercise because of your heart problems and asked me to join you. We walked and talked for several months before you died.

Those moments were precious to me.

Thank you, Dad,

Your loving daughter, Kitty

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers Day 2007. Letters To My Father. Letter 1.

Dear Dad,

It's been a long time since we were together, you and I. You left us on December 26, 1965.

I miss you as much today as I did then.

You were such a good man, you loved us dearly, and showed us in so many ways.

You and I were so close. We shared a soul, I think.

I am so deeply grateful that you were my father ... the kind of father who never betrayed my trust, hurt me, or took advantage of my innocence and love for you.

You protected me, educated me, and gave me the strength and internal resources I needed to survive in this sometimes difficult world.

You loved me with the warm, pure, innocent love that good, normal fathers have for their daughters.

Do you remember my friend, Cathy? It broke our hearts, yours and mine, when we found out her father was brutally beating her ... and who knows what else he was doing to her ... . I know you tried to help, but the 60s was a different era, and people didn't try too hard to rescue kids like Cathy at that time. You gave it your best effort, but you couldn't perform miracles.

Dad ... she finally broke. I cried when I find out she had been committed to a Mental Hospital when she was 16. I guess her mind couldn't take what her father was doing to her body anymore.

You never knew Georgie, Dad. You probably wouldn't have liked her anymore than anyone else did. But ... Dad, I saw the real Georgie, unlike most, and she was a fragile girl just trying to get through life as best she could.

She used to call and beg me to convince Mom to let her come and stay with us for the weekend. I didn't really understand why, but the desperation in her voice was compelling, despite her efforts to appear cool. Mom didn't like her, so convincing her was always a bit of a challenge, but I pulled it off.

Georgie and I were 13 then. I met her one year after you passed away.

When we turned 16, Georgie finally told me that her father had been molesting her for as long as she could remember and started raping her when she turned 11. She explained that she tried to avoid his assaults by spending as much time as possible out of the house.

Her father was a Correctional Officer at the prison and had lots of friends in the local police force. Her mother worked shifts and was regularly out of the house overnight when she was working midnight shift.

Georgie and I both knew no-one was going to believe her if she reported the abuse, not in those days, and considering who her father was, and his connections. To my knowledge she never has.

The last time I saw her was in 1970. We lost touch with each other then, largely due to family interference, because no-one liked the fact that I had a friend "like her", and so, I don't know what happened to her.

People can be very petty and narrow minded, as you know.

I think if you had met Georgie, you would have understood my friendship with her, and that I was just trying to help someone who was hurting. She was like a fragile, little bird, with broken wings. I just wanted to see her fly.

Dad, I was just doing what you taught me to do.

Thank you,

Your loving daughter,