My father passed away in 1998, shortly after I moved to Manchester to start my PhD in history. He had been suffering from bowel cancer for about 3 years at that point. I had only just started seeing Rick, who would later become my husband, and unfortunately the two never had a chance to meet, something Rick told me he really regretted, having heard so many utterly bonkers stories about my dad from me, my mom and my brother. My dad was a big man, in size and personality, with a filthy and rather bizarre sense of humour and a somewhat intractable personality – his siblings called him ‘The Bull’.
About a year ago I was in Atlanta finally going through the last of my possessions left in the US, owing to my mother selling her house, and I came across a stack of old letters of the snail mail variety, many from my father, but some from Mom and other friends and family. Reading some of Dad’s letters aloud to Rick had us both in stitches. “You should scan these and put them online,” he told me. He thought my mom, brother, cousins and aunts and uncles would enjoy reading them. I worry about the way he describes them all – some of it is far from flattering – but agree they will see his humour running through them. He sought mainly to make me laugh, through hyperbole and toilet humour mainly, usually at the expense of everyone around us.
These letters, for I’ve scanned all of the letters, not just the ones from my father, paint a picture of my first steps away from home. From summer camp to university, they provide a nice biography of my teenage years as well as my relationship with my parents. I hope readers will find it as amusing as Rick and I do.