Monday, January 11, 2010

[ Fanny Howe on Mark DeWolfe Howe ]

“The presence of our missing father trailed us everywhere.”

“Our father was the only reason we were anywhere then; and he was nowhere. When the snow came, the blood-red brick of the city grew white and the ice on the river was a stiff winding sheet that led out to the Atlantic and across to Ireland. The sky was dramatic and emotional at every hour of the day. The war contributed to every shadow and drop; consciousness of its force was made up only of objects and loose parts, of animate and inanimate, of constant motion, wind, rain, hope, dread, and expectation. / That war was like an immense umbrella held high in the air and shadowing our every move. (Even now I can feel its shade, even if only a corner is left.)”

"At that time I had only one memory of my father from the top of the stairs in Buffalo. He was in a uniform and he was saying a hesitant goodbye. Otherwise there were few photographs. He had left his job as dean of a new law school at Buffalo and had left behind his work on the letters and life of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. He was thirty-seven. He had been to Europe only once before, as far as Ireland, where he had met his in-laws and where he vowed never to return. He was known to have a dread of travel yet he was gone longer than most fathers."


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