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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

A Handwritten Note From My Dad

"Let me be clear: When it came to ageism, Jim was not the problem. I was.

I have squinted at my smile lines and thought, smile less? Wondered if I should consider a neck lift. And, worse, I believed that romance had to start with romance — and that a romantic relationship had to begin with a meet-cute, a quick spark. . . Could it be that I had internalized all that ageism I had taken such a public stand against?" -----Ann Gavin,  CEO and founder of the award-winning @The Tall Poppy Writers

This is my kind of writing; apparently, my dad agreed. More than 15 years ago before email and texting, I opened a letter from him. I unfolded a clipping of a New York Times piece from "The Modern Love," a column that features "honest personal essays about contemporary relationships." Scrawled across the margin of the clipping was a handwritten note from my dad: "This writing reminds me of yours."

My dad had never talked much about my writing and when he did, it was to insist that I change the title of one of my books and eliminate the word sex from the title: Thanks for the Memories: Love, Sex, & World War II. Granted, my parents' story laid the foundation for the book; honestly, I added the word sex at the urging of my editor who thought it would sell more books. By the time my dad got wind of the expanded title, it was too late to make a change. Besides, I'd gotten to think my editor was right. And what author doesn't want to sell more books?

But that all came later after my dad sent me the clipping with the handwritten note. I was thrilled. He liked my writing. He loved me, even if saying so didn't come easily. 

"I love you, dad."

"Me, too," he'd say.

Happy Father's Day.  I miss you so much!


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